Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, convicted of rape and murder and out on parole, is busy making his reals. Convicted in 2017, the Dera Sacha Sauda chief got a 20-year jail term. He was granted a 40-day parole last week following an application filed by his family. Since he came out he made several videos, and for his glimpses, his disciples are overcrowding the ashram with the costliest gifts and donations. Diwali was one of the most celebrated days. God only knows how these criminal God-men have so much power to attract people. He is a rapist and brutal murderer.
Ram Rahim had been known for political clout, as his Dera has a large number of followers among Dalits, estimated to be over 70%. His Dera Sacha Sauda is the only one among the various Deras that openly asks its supporters to vote for particular political parties. Ram Rahim originally supported the Indian National Congress and aided them in the 2007 Punjab state elections esp. to wrest control of the Malwa region. Before the 2012 Punjab state elections, Congress leader Amarinder Singh, his wife Preneet Kaur and his son Raninder Singh visited Ram Rahim, asking him to extend his support to Congress.
However, Dera’s support to Congress alienated the party’s Sikh vote bank. In the 2012 elections, Congress performed poorly, and Jassi himself lost the election. The poor performance of Congress was seen as a signal of the downfall of Dera’s political power. Before the 2014 Haryana state elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader And Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised Ram Rahim in order to attract the Dera Sacha Sauda followers. Ram Rahim reciprocated by supporting the BJP in the state elections and in February 2015, again in the Delhi assembly elections. He reportedly claimed to have over 2 million followers in Delhi.
His organisation supported BJP in the Bihar assembly election in 2015, and nearly 3,000 Dera followers campaigned for BJP in the state. In 2016, the Haryana sports minister Anil Vij announced a ₹ 5 million grant to the Dera for promoting sports, in Ram Rahim’s presence, which led to a controversy. Narendra Modi came to power with the slogan “ Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao”, save the girl child and educate her. But they ignored the controversy surrounding Ram Rahim.
In 2002, a woman wrote to the respective Chief Ministers of the states of Punjab and Haryana, and to the Union Home Minister, CBI, NHRC and the Punjab and Haryana High Court, describing an incident involving Ram Rahim. The Punjab and Haryana High Court sought a report from the District and Sessions Judge of Sirsa, after which Judge MS Sular conducted an inquiry and submitted a report recommending a probe by a central agency.
After the report from Sirsa, the Punjab and Haryana High Court ordered the CBI to probe into the allegations levelled in the letter. The Chandigarh Branch, CBI registered a case of rape under the IPC Section 376, criminal intimidation under Section 506 and insult to the modesty of a woman under 509. This letter was published in Ram Chander Chhatrapati’s four-page Hindi eveninger, Poora Sach in 2002.
A CBI probe was ordered into the incident on 24 September 2002. The investigations involved contacting 18 Sadhvis who had left the Dera by 2002. In the same year, Ram Rahim had charges levied against him for the murder of journalist Ram Chander Chhatrapati, who was writing articles at the time about Dera Sacha Sauda, and for the murder of Dera Sacha Sauda manager Ranjit Singh. In 2014 Ram Rahim said he had been impotent since 1990. The special CBI court rejected these contentions.
On 25 August 2017, a special CBI court in Panchkula, Haryana, delivered its verdict in a sexual assault case regarding a former Dera Sadhvi, finding Ram Rahim guilty of two counts of rape. Ram Rahim was taken into custody. More than 200,000 people had gathered near the court premises ahead of the verdict in Panchkula, Haryana. Following the conviction, there were violent protests in parts of India with reports of widespread vandalism. On 28 August 2017, the CBI court sentenced him to a total of 20 years in prison, 10 years for each of the two rape convictions to be served consecutively. Ram Rahim challenged his rape conviction in the Punjab and Haryana High Courts on 9 October 2017.
The timing of Ram Rahim’s release on parole has been criticized by the opposition, which pointed out that he is always released ahead of an election. This time, Haryana is heading for panchayat elections and by-polls for the Adampur assembly constituency. Earlier, the Dera chief was released on month-long parole in June – ahead of elections to 46 civic bodies. In February, ahead of the Punjab assembly elections, he was given three weeks’ furlough. Political parties cannot afford to keep him in jail for a long time as there is fear of losing votes. These criminals take advantage of political weaknesses and survive against all legal challenges.