Self-styled Godmen in India are usually controversial figures who are known for duping gullible people and indulging in nefarious activities. Swami Premananda, Asaram Bapu, and Chandraswami are just a few self-styled godmen who have gained infamy for their actions ranging from rapes and murders to land grabbing and fraud. Now, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh joins the bandwagon. He has been convicted by a CBI court in a rape case dating back to 2002. Ram Rahim, who has thousands of followers, had both the government of Haryana and Punjab on the edge who took several security measures to thwart any possible violence from Ram Rahim’s followers.
Let us take a look at who is Ram Rahim, what are the charges against him and why the two states remain tense.
Who is Ram Rahim
Ram Rahim was born on August 15, 1967, in Sri Gurusar Modia village in Rajasthan’s Ganganagar district. In 1990, he became the the head of Dera Sacha Sauda, which is involved in many welfare programs such as organizing blood donation drives and cleanliness campaigns, planting trees, rehabilitation of sex workers, and disaster relief, to name just a few.
Married with three daughters and a son and an adopted daughter, Ram Rahim wears many hats and holds and impressive resume. He is a social reformer, spiritual leader, singer, actor and director all combined into one. He has directed, produced and also acted in three movies. He is flamboyant, loves to ride powerful bikes to congregations, has a Z-level security, and has 53 world records in various categories.
However, this impressive resume has been blotted by the charges against him. This includes the alleged rape of two sadhvis in 2002; the alleged killing of Ranjit Singh, a sect manager, and journalist Ram Chander Chatrapati in 2002.
He also angered Sikh groups when in 2007 in an advertisement he wore an attire that resembled the one worn by Guru Gobind Singh. The attire also included a turban and kalgi.
The case against Ram Rahim
Though Ram Rahim has been mired in several controversies but the current CBI verdict and conviction pertains to the 2002 alleged rape case. In 2002, anonymous letters were sent to the then Prime Minister of India Atal Bihari Vajpayee which alleged that Ram Rahim had sexually assaulted two sadhvis. Subsequently, a case of sexual exploitation was registered against the spiritual guru in 2002. The victims have further alleged that they were warned by Ram Rahim not to tell anyone about the incident on the threat of his political influences. However, finally justice has been served and the spiritual leader has been pronounced guilty. But the quantum of sentence will be announced on Monday. Meanwhile, the Haryana police has taken the head of the DSS into custody. It has been reported that he will be taken to Rohtak jail in a helicopter.
Punjab and Haryana on high security alert
Ram Rahim has thousands of followers and fearing larges scale violence, both the states of Punjab and Haryana have taken several safety measures. In view of possible violent protests, a flag march was conducted by the army in Panchkula. Many other measures have been taken since Wednesday which include schools and colleges have been shut down while bus services and trains have been cancelled. The Punjab and Haryana High Court has also directed the government of Haryana to use force, if required, on the followers of Ram Rahim if they make provocative statements or try to create disturbances. Mobile internet, data and power services have also been suspended in the two states of Punjab and Haryana and the Union Territory of Chandigarh.
Meanwhile, it remains to be seen what punishment will be given to the self-styled Godman. The punishment will be announced on Monday (August 28, 2017).