Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim found guilty of rape

Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim found guilty of rape

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Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh+ was found guilty of rape by a special CBI court in Panchkula, Haryana, on Friday. He was immediately taken into judicial custody; he will be sentenced on Monday.

The Dera head was present in court when the judgment was read out.

A rape conviction carries a minimum sentence of seven years and a maximum of 10 years.

Soon after the Dera chief’s conviction, followers pelted stones and broke barricades following which police lobbed tear gas shells and fired in the air.Immediately after the verdict, many Dera followers including large number of women started crying.Some followers went berserk and also allegedly damaged OB vans of a private TV channel.Police lobbed tear gas shells, used water canons and batons in an attempt to bring the situation under control

The Dera followers pelted stones and broke security cordon.

The court delivered its verdict in the case against the 50-year-old Dera chief after 14 long years and amid unprecedented security as thousands of Dera followers gathered in Panchkula ahead of the judgment.

In fact, just two hours before the verdict, the Punjab and Haryana high court told the Haryana government it can go ahead and use force when required and file FIRs against any Gurmeet Ram Rahim follower breaking the law or making provocative statements.

Haryana’s chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar said on Friday his government was ready to deal with any fallout from the verdict.

“Whatever the verdict, will implement it. Ready to deal with any circumstances, security arrangements are in place, I appeal for peace and calm,” said Khattar.

The charges against Gurmeet Ram Rahim date back to 2002, when a Dera sadhvi wrote an anonymous letter to then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee saying she was raped by the Dera chief. In the letter, the sadhvi also accused Gurmeet Ram Rahim of raping several other female followers inside the sprawling Dera campus on the outskirts of Sirsa in the state of Haryana.

Ahead of the verdict on Friday, Army columns moved into Panchkula early in the morning. As well, around 53 companies of the paramilitary forces and 50,000 personnel of the Haryana Police were deployed in the states of Haryana and Punjab.

The 50-year-old Gurmeet Ram Rahim left the sect-headquarters at Sirsa, about 260km from Chandigarh, at about 9am, in a huge convoy. The Haryana director general of police (DGP) was asked if there were 200-plus vehicles in the Dera chief’s convoy. He didn’t confirm that number but did say that the convoy size would be cut en route to Panchkula.

“Only a couple of cars which include escort vehicles will be allowed,” said BS Sandhu, the Haryana DGP.

In 2002, the Punjab and Haryana high court took suo motu cognizance – action of its own accord – of the sadhvi’s letter to then PM Vajpayee, and directed the CBI to register a sexual exploitation case against the Dera chief in 2002. The case was then handed over to the CBI.

The investigating agency questioned 18 sadhvis and two of them leveled allegations of rape against the spiritual leader.Their statements are part of the CBI chargesheet which was filed on July 30, 2007, in the CBI special court.

One of the sadhvis said in her statement, that when she entered the Dera chief’s sprawling chamber, the doors automatically closed and she found him watching a pornographic movie on a big screen. The CBI is said to be banking heavily on this statement as only a select few have access to that chamber.

The trial against Gurmeet Ram Rahim commenced in 2008 and on September 6, 2008, he was charged under Section 376 (rape) and Section 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code.
The Dera chief consistently called the charges false and baseless and has told the court that he is “not capable of” engaging in physical relations.
Gurmeet Ram Rahim is also facing trial in two separate murder cases – those of Dera follower Ranjit Singh in July 2002 and of journalist Ram Chander Chattrapati in October that same year.
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2 COMMENTS

  1. When Indian Courts are taking 15 years for their decisions .How can you believe that their decisions are right. People do not remember what they ate yesterday and then how can you describe accurately what happened 15 years ago. What a shame to Indian justice system. If he was truly a rapist as per judges, now ,then he enjoyed his life openly for 15 years while he should have been in the jail. So some of the judges of India who let him enjoy his life should also go in prison with him. Justice system of India must be improved. Modi ji has to do some thing. India needs big reform.

  2. Justice in most countries is slow, especially in a democracy like ours. Here so many leading personalities, involved in sports, religion and especially in TV who committed crimes some 20 to 50 years ago, like Rolf Harris and many more were convicted and send to prison. Some escaped prison sentence as they are already dead. It is specially difficult for the victims to come forward as they think no one will believe them and they are right, the recent case of a member of a Welsh group bears witness. When even their partners go to police urging them to investigate, no action is taken, But justice delayed is better than no justice at all. We live in an imperfect world. But if we want democracy, then we will have to put up with such imperfect system.

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