New Delhi: The rape conviction of Dera Sacha Sauda (DSS) chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, regarded as a spiritual leader, has shocked millions of his followers spread across several states with a large concentration in the states of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.
Gurmeet Ram Rahim, was on Friday held guilty by the Special CBI Court of Panchkula, and has been sentenced to 10 years in jail. Popularly known as Baba Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, he claims to command a veritable following of more than 60 million of his faithfuls, especially the Dalit Sikhs, according to the website of his organisation Dera Sacha Sauda.
Here is all about the case against Baba Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh:
The CBI had lodged the FIR against the dera chief in 2002. The Punjab and Haryana High Court had referred the matter to the agency after an anonymous letter purportedly written by a sadhvi began circulating. In the letter addressed to the PM, Haryana CM and Chief Justice of high court, the sadhvi accused the dera chief of raping her and other sadhvis and pleaded for an inquiry. Before referring the matter for a CBI probe, the high court had taken a report on the matter from the District and Sessions Judge of Sirsa.
The CBI subsequently succeeded in locating two sadhvis who deposed before a trial court that the dera chief sexually exploited them. In 2008, a CBI court ordered framing of rape charges against the dera chief.
The above allegations of rape are not the only controversy Singh has courted till now. He has been in the controversy for several other reasons also including the allegations of murdering people and castrating his followers as well.
- In 2005, a criminal case was filed against Singh for the alleged kidnap of a woman named Guddi Devi on the complaints filed by Kamlesh Kumar with the Jawahar Circle police station in Jaipur.
- In his complaint, Kamlesh Kumar claimed Singh and his followers had kidnapped his wife Guddi, who had gone to the headquarters in Haryana to attend a Satsang.
- A case was of wrongful confinement and abductions was lodged against Singh, Dera managing director DPS Dutta and others under Sections 344, 346, 365 and 120b (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code, according to media reports.
- In 2007, DSS chief Singh dressed up as the 10th guru of Sikhs – Guru Gobind Singh – in an advertisement that sparked huge controversy and was considered blasphemous by a section of Sikhs. Hundreds of people injured after his move to pose himself as the 10th guru of Sikhs – Guru Gobind Singh – which ignited violent clashes between Sikhs and his followers.
- In 2012, Singh was accused for the mass castration case. A petition was filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court by Hansraj Chauhan, a former DSS follower, alleging that 400 followers, including him, were castrated inside the ashram on Singh’s order. Chauhan said Singh claimed the followers would be able to realise God after castration. In 2014, the Singh was booked in connection with the case by CBI. CBI found evidence against Singh in the mass castration case a year later.
- In 2014, after reports of illegal arms training surfaced online, the Punjab and Haryana High Court ordered the state government to monitor the activities of the DSS. However, no evidence of illegal arms training at the DSS headquarters in Sirsa in Haryana was found, in the investigations, the state government claimed.
- In 2015, Singh again came in MSG movies controversies, when the then censor board chief Leela Samson resigned after the film got clearance from Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT), saying “It is a mockery of Central Board of Film Certification. My resignation is final. Sikh organisations and leaders protested against the release of the film prompting Punjab and Haryana governments to put high alert after film hit screens.