Ram Rahim Singh convicted of rape, lodged in make-shift Rohtak jail

Panchkula: The special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court on August 25 convicted Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in a rape case. The court will declare the quantum of sentence on August 28.
The Haryana Police has taken Gurmeet to Rohtak’s Police Training College in Sunaria.
Violence erupted in Panchkula, Haryana, moments after Gurmeet’s conviction, prompting police to fire tear gas shells at Dera protesters. Police also resorted to lathicharge and fired live bullets in the air to disperse the violent crowds.
Malout Railway Station and petrol pump were set on fire by protesters in Punjab. Similar incidents were also reported in Bathinda.
Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has appealed to “all Punjabis to maintain peace and harmony in state”. “Won’t allow anyone to disturb peace and tranquillity,” he added.
The rape allegations against Gurmeet date back to 2002, when two of the Dera followers (sadhvis) wrote a letter to the then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, in anonymity, alleging that they were raped by the self-styled godman.
The letter also accused Gurmeet of sexually exploiting several of his female followers inside the Dera campus on the outskirts of Sirsa in Haryana.
The Punjab and Haryana court took cognizance of the sadhvis’ letter and instructed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to register a case of sexual exploitation against the Dera chief in 2002.
The Chandigarh unit of the CBI launched an investigation after a case was registered on December 12, 2002, under Section 376 (rape), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 509 (insult to the modesty of woman) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
However, he has been constantly denying the charges, claiming that he is a faithful follower of the law.
In their statements before the court, the two sadhvis alleged that they were raped by the spiritual leader. However, one of them went on to justify the rape saying it would “purify” her.
One of them in her statements said when she entered the Dera chief’s chambers, the doors closed automatically while he was watching a pornographic film.
Apart from the 2002 rape allegations, Gurmeet Ram Rahim is also accused of murdering a journalist, Ranjit Singh, in October 2002, who was investigating the charges against him.

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