Politics

Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Sentenced to 20 Years in Jail for Rape, Fined Rs 30 lakh

The Dera Sacha Sauda chief was convicted of raping two female followers, after which his followers turned violent and 32 people died.

Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in a still from <em>MSG 2</em>.

Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in a still from MSG 2.

New Delhi: A special CBI court on Monday (August 28) sentenced Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh to 20 years in prison – 10 years each for two rape cases that will run consecutively and not concurrently, as was earlier understood. The sentencing hearing was held in Sunaria jail, Rohtak. A special court was set up in the jail premises to prevent a repeat of the violence which was witnessed following the announcement of the conviction of the Dera head on Friday. 

The CBI court also fined the Dera chief Rs 30 lakh for three separate offences including attempt to murder and criminal intimidation. The court allowed him a separate cell, but no attendants or special facilities After the verdict, 50-year-old Singh was seen weeping profusely as he sat on the floor outside the courtroom. He was then forcibly taken away by security personnel.

While the CBI lawyer termed it a victory for the process of justice, the defence counsel said the court had given him a light sentence in view of his work for social causes. He also said an appeal would be filed in the high court against the CBI court order.

Judge Jagdeep Singh, along with the court staff, was flown in from Chandigarh by helicopter earlier in the morning. Rohtak was placed on high alert for the hearing. Rohtak deputy commissioner Atul Kumar had earlier declared that shoot at sight orders have been issued. He added that a three-tier security ring has been put in place around Sunaria district jail, where Singh is lodged, with 4,000 security personnel manning the area.

“We will not allow anyone to create any sort of trouble in Rohtak. Anyone breaking law or indulging in acts of violence or arson will himself be responsible for his fate. Anyone creating trouble will be given a warning first and if he still pays no heed, then he will have to face the bullet,” he had said.

TV channels reported that Singh broke down in court and pleaded for leniency before the judge announced his sentence. His followers set ablaze two cars in Phoolka area of Haryana’s Sirsa while the sentencing hearing was in session, ANI reported. While the CBI asked for life imprisonment, his lawyer asked for leniency because of his social work record.

On August 25, Singh was convicted of raping two female followers. The sections he was convicted under entail a minimum punishment of seven years and a maximum of life imprisonment.

After Singh was convicted on Friday, his followers, who had gathered in large numbers outside the court in Panchkula, Haryana, turned violent, destroying property, and burning media OB vans and burning buses. Violence spread to other parts of Haryana, as well as Punjab and Delhi. Thirty one people died in the clashes that ensued with the police and over 250 were injured. The Centre and Haryana government were widely criticised, including by the Punjab and Haryana high court, for allowing crowds to gather despite knowing what may happen.

Rioters smash television trucks during violence in Panchkula, India, August 25, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Cathal McNaughton

Rioters smash television trucks during violence in Panchkula, India, August 25, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Cathal McNaughton

The rape Singh has been convicted of dates back to 1999. A case was filed in 2002, when an anonymous letter written by the complainant reached the Punjab and Haryana high court and then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The complainant said in her letter:

One night, at about 10 pm, I was called by Guru Maharaj to his gufa (den). I found him … with a revolver lying next to his pillow. He told me that as I, a sadhvi, had dedicated my mind and body to the ‘seva‘ of the guru, he, the guru, wanted to claim his due. When I protested, he told me that I should have no doubt he indeed was god. ‘Didn’t Lord Krishna make love to his gopis every night? Yet people regard him as god,’ he told me. When I was still not convinced, he told me he could shoot me here and now and no one would raise a finger, not even my parents. ‘The chief ministers of Punjab and Haryana and many central ministers come and touch my feet. I can get your family members removed from their jobs and get them killed if you protest,’ he told me.

There are about 40 unmarried women between 35-40 years of age in the ashram regarded as devis. We are not allowed to even look at another man, have to keep our heads covered with a white dupatta … But our life here is worse than that of prostitutes. Even if our parents call we are not allowed to talk to them without the guru’s permission. If any sadhvi goes back home and tells her family members about what has happened to her, goondas from the deras threaten the family members with death threats, forcing them to keep quiet. If you get the sadhvis of the dera medically examined you will learn that they are not sadhvis….

Singh is also accused in the murder of journalist Ram Chander Chhatrapati, who exposed the rape accusations against Singh in his newspaper Poora Sachh. The police had refused to name Singh in the original FIR; the case was transferred to the CBI after Chhatrapati’s son filed a petition in the Punjab and Haryana high court. The case is now being heard in the same CBI court in Panchkula that found Singh guilt of rape.


Also read: Why Do People Go to the Dera?


Dera Sacha Sauda has close to 50 million followers worldwide, according to some estimates, many of whom are from ‘lower’ caste and marginalised backgrounds. Singh is known as a ‘Rockstar Baba’ – he has produced three films about himself starring himself, where he fights bad guys, sings and rides a flying motorcycle.

  • Stephen

    This verdict of the Court on punishing a violator of constitutional and human right laws is an indication of the presence of the ‘judicial power’ in the country. No citizen can escape nor take granted of the law which is created by us for the common benefit of all citizens.

  • Nitin Mehta

    The court could have given verdict over video conferance , with Sri Ram Rahim Gurmeetji present in Sirsa court, in which case, there would have been NO riots in Panchkula. There may have been more difficultly in arresting him in Sirsa,
    .
    The reason why riots happened in Panchkula was because court decided to call Guru Ram Rahimji in Panchkula in person, and CBI also insisted on the same. And so several Dera followers came to Panchkula.
    .
    But in such case, arresting Guru Ram Rahimji would have become difficult, Because Guru Ram Rahimji has lakhs of followers in Sirsa
    .
    So to easen the process of arrest, the stage was set that Guru Ram Rahimji will be asked to come to Panchkula. And he was perhaps told that he will be acquitted. Nevertheless, followers came because they wanted to take both possibilities into account.
    .
    So all in all, riots in Panchkula would NOT have happened if court had asked Guru Ram Rahimji to appear at Sirsa court, annouce the verdict over video, and then ordered arrest in Sirss. The riots in Panchkula happened because courts / Ministers decided to shift the battle ground to Panchkula.

  • Nitin Mehta

    The supreme court “judgement” that girls’s testimony MUST be taken as FULL truth, and that the testimony giver was NOT allowed to change the statement – were key reasons how CBI IPS under Modiji were able to knock down Sri Guru Ram Rahim Gurmeetji.
    .
    Also, when over 20 Sadhvies were interogated , ALL refused the claims. Finally, 1-2 ex-Sadhvies have some statements, which were obtained on the basis highly confusing and convulted questions, were taken as “evidence”.
    .
    And CBI IPS had taken statements before Magistrate under so called crpc-164. So the statement giver can face punishment if she retracts from the statements. So she was thus compelled to give same statement in court !!!
    .
    And then SCjs’ “landmark” judgment that statement made by female should be taken as FULL truth and FULL evidence was used
    .
    No witness. No material evidence. Answers to convulated and confusing questions taken as full and final statement. Victim not allowed to change statement. The statement taken as proof !!!
    .
    And we have “educated” people calling all this as rule of law
    .
    SOLUTION?
    .
    Solution I propose is that we should expel ALL judges from supreme judges to magistrates and use ONLY Jury Trials. And we need right to recall over ALL judges. And if Jurors seem right, then they may demand narcotests on accuses, victims, wintness, which they may deny and denial can be used as conclusion.
    .
    —-
    .
    RSS-leader and Haryana CM Khatter visited Sri Ram Rahilm’s bhakts in hospitals, who got injuries due ti policemen’s firing etc. What crocodile tears from RSS-leaders and rss-workers !!
    .
    Essentially, rss-workers want to demolish all Hindu Guru such as Guru Ram Raheem Gurmeetji, Sant Rampalji, Sant Sri Asaram Baapu etc so that all their bhakts will come under Guru stooges sponsored by rss.
    .
    Well, imo, most the deveotees will end up falling in net of Missionaries. And why just deveotees — all rss-leaders have also become puppets of usuk-elitemen and missionaries, just like all congress / app leaders.
    .
    Hinduvaadies should now see that rss-workers and rss-leaders are PSUEDO-HINDUVAADIES only. rss-workers have REFUSED to bring any kaw that will free hindu temples from govt control. And rss-workers promote leaders liek Paresh raval whose movie OMG creates an image that Hindu Gurus are fakes and phonies . In Ahmedabad, a special show of Paresh Raval’s play “Kanha vs Kanha” was organized for rss-leaders and rss-workers !!! That play and movie OMG has alsmost similar script. And when Sant Sri Asaram Bapu was arrested, no rss-worker gave ANY newspaper advt etc to list out facts that favored Sant Sri Asaram Bapu (such as date of birth on first school leaving certificate show that “victim” was NOT a minor).
    .
    SOLUTION?
    .
    Solution I propose is two laws
    .
    (1) First law I have proposed is “NHDMT – National Hindu Devalaya Management Trust “. It will create National Hindu Trust which create an SGPC like structure over ALL Hindus across India , where heads will be elected and recallable. This body will hand ONLY National Temples such as RJB, KJB Mathura, KV Banaras, and Amarnath (Kashmir). For draft , pls see – https://www.facebook.com/mehtarahulc/posts/10154682828176922 . And if you support this law-draft, then pls send following tweet – Text of tweet – @PmoIndia #NHDMT law by which Hindus can free Devalaya from Govt control mygov.in/comment/101804881 #f04b615dbc458a02c2dfa6fe8072a5b87e8268d7 .
    .
    (2) Second law I propose is SDMT = Sampradaya Devalaya Managament Trust. will free Govt control over all temples, and if temple owners want, then it will enable them to create an SGPC like structure over tehri sects / temples. I will soon publish this draft.
    .
    So imo if you want to reduce stronghold of Missionaries, then pls support law-drafts like JurySys, RTR, NHDMT , SDMT etc. Pls dont waste time, money, hopes, votes etc after SoMoKe and congress / rss / aap workers.

  • The Wire

    He is not referred to as “rape Singh”, sir. This is a reference to the rape (that) Singh has been convicted of.

    • Nitin Mehta

      When I pointed out Yesterday then you changed it previously it was written “the rape Singh has been convicted.”
      Forgot to take snapshot yesterday if took could’ve posted.

      • The Wire

        You don’t need a snapshot. You just need to read carefully. The sentence is: “The rape Singh has been convicted of dates back to 1999.” This is like saying, “The fast Irom Sharmila has been on dates back to 2005”. Does that mean we are calling Irom Sharmila “fast Irom Sharmila”? Don’t waste time with these comments please.