While the verdict is awaited, abreast yourself with some little known accusations on the Dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. The most interesting fact which doesn’t fail to amaze us is, in spite of being accused of rapes, murders and castrations, Ram Rahim still enjoys an undying love of his followers as well as a Z+ security.
The security provided to him by the central government is on the basis of inputs about threat to his life.
Back in 1948, Dera Sacha Sauda was established at Sirsa by Shah Mastana Balochistani as a social welfare and spiritual organisation.
Gurmeet Ram Rahim became its head in 1990. He and his institution have been a piece of controversy ever since.
- Death of a child and clash with journalists
The first big controversy involving Ram Rahim blew up in 1998 when a child at Begu village in Sirsa came under a jeep belonging to Dera Sachcha Sauda. The villagers came out in protest but the Dera tried to use its might and shut them up.
Local journalists picked up the case and reported in detail the activities and high handedness of the Dera and Gurmeet Ram Rahim. The Dera and its chief responded with threats to journalists. The Dera followers started calling up all the news men who reported or published reports against Ram Rahim threatening them with dire consequences.
A joint committee of local journalists and the Dera people was formed. A village panchayat was held where Dera Sachcha Sauda tendered written apology and the matter was laid to rest.
- Charge of rape against Ram Rahim
In 2002, an anonymous letter took on Gurmeet Ram Rahim and Dera Sachcha Sauda with allegations of rape against the “messenger of God”. The letter, purportedly written by a sadhvi of the Dera Sachcha Sauda, claimed that Gurmeet Ram Rahim raped her repeatedly.
The Dera people blamed Ranjeet Singh of Kurukshetra for the letter who had been a member of the Dera Sachcha management committee.
Dera managers suspected that he got his sister, who was a sadhvi at the Dera, to write the anonymous letter. Ranjeet Singh was killed in July 2002, two months after the letter was written.
In September, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had ordered the CBI probe against Ram Rahim in the rape case. The Panchkula court is today delivering verdict in the same matter after 15 years.
- Murder of journalist
In October 2002, journalist Ram Chander Chhattrapati was murdered. He is credited with exposing the illegal activities of the Dera pointing fingers at Gurmeet Ram Rahim. Ram Chander Chhattrapati was the editor of a small time newspaper Poora Sach.
On October 24, 2002, Ram Chander was shot allegedly by Dera followers. He died on November 21 at the Apollo hospital in New Delhi. This led to massive protests by journalists at Sirsa and other places in Haryana and Punjab demanding action against Gurmeet Ram Rahim.
The Punjab and Chandigarh High Court ordered CBI probe in the killings of both Ram Chander and Ranjeet Singh in 2003. The case still lies pending and Gurmeet Ram Rahim is the main accused in the case.
- Hurting Sikh Sentiments
In May 2007, Gurmeet Ram Rahim again courted controversies with his dressing. He appeared in public before his followers at Satawalpura of Bathinda in Punjab in a dress resembling Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh Guru.
The same photograph of Gurmeet Ram Rahim appeared in newspapers as advertisement. This led to huge uproar and massive protests across Punjab and Delhi. The Dera supporters attacked Sikh protesters at Bathinda, where demonstrators burnt the effigies of Ram Rahim. A criminal case was filed against Gurmeet Ram Rahim.
- Ban On Visiting Punjab
Unrest against Gurmeet Ram Rahim continued at several places. During one of the protest in May, 2007 at Sunam, Dera follower fired at protesting Sikhs. A youth identified as Komal Singh died in the firing.
The Sikh organisations took to streets and launched a massive campaign for the arrest of Gurmeet Ram Rahim. In the face of protests, the Punjab government put a ban on Gurmeet Ram Rahim’s entry into the state.
In June 2007, a petition was filed in the Bathinda court, which issued a non-bailable warrant against Gurmeet Ram Rahim. This led to fresh wave of violent protest but this time the demonstrators were the followers of Gurmeet Ram Rahim.
- Threat Letter to Judge
In July 2007, the special CBI court judge received a letter threatening him with unpleasant consequences if he proceeded against the rape and sexual harassment cases against Gurmeet Ram Rahim.
The threat letter followed the submission of probe report or challan by the CBI in the court after completing probe in the cases of murders and sexual harassment. The CBI had made Gurmeet Ram Rahim as the main accused in the three cases.
The judge sought security from administration and the cases went on. Gurmeet Ram Rahim was summoned to appear before the court on August 31.
- Ex-Dera Manager Goes Missing
In 2010, a petition was filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking CBI probe alleging that former Dera manager Fakir Chand was missing. The petition had been filed by another former Dera manager named Ram Kumar Bishnoi.
Bishnoi alleged that Fakir Chand had been killed under Gurmeet Ram Rahim’s command. The high court directed the CBI to probe the case. Following the court’s order the followers of Gurmeet Ram Rahim turned violent in Rajasthan, Haryana and Punjab. Public properties were damaged. Buses were set on fire.
However, the CBI filed a closure report citing lack of evidence. Bishnoi has challenged the closure report in the high court.
- Castration of followers
In July 2012, Hansraj Chauhan of Fatehabad district of Haryana filed a petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court alleging that 400 disciples were castrated at the Dera premises.
The castration was allegedly done to avoid sexual advances of the disciples towards sadhvis. The petition claimed that the disciples were manipulated to go through the castration procedure on the pretext of union with God. The case is currently in trial stage.
- Possession of illegal weapons
Following the arrest of self-styled godman Rampal of Barwala in Hissar district of Haryana, Gurmeet Ram Rahim came under the scanner for allegedly possessing illegal weapons at this Dera Sachcha Sauda ashram. A clue to police claimed that arms training was being provided at the Dera.
The Punjab and Haryana High Court sought report from the local administration on the matter stating that “training of private commandos and arming them with illegal weapons to protect some individuals would definitely pose a challenge not only to the judiciary, but also to the state.”
Also read: FOLLOWERS CAMPED IN PANCHKULA IN SUPPORT OF DERA CHIEF, TOOK TO TWITTER AND TOLD THEM TO DISPERSE
Meanwhile, the final verdict on the rapes cases, one of the accusations, is awaited today. Self-styled Godman, Ram Rahim, reached the court in Panchkula around 2:30pm and the trial is on.
His followers in thousands have been waiting mobbed around the court and within the city, for which, police, Army and Paramilitary forces have been instated for controlling the crowd. Moreover, railways, road transport and mobile internet connectivity have come to a stand still and are expected to resume soon.