BABA RAHAM KARO (GOD HAVE MERCY)
Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Sentenced to Ten Years Imprisonment for Rape
By Neel Anil Panicker
‘India is chock-a-block with these Godmen. In today’s highly modernistic age when man is dreaming of settling down in Mars, isn’t even addressing a mere mortal as a Godman something of an oxymoron?’
Professor BL Tripathi smiled benignly at his guest from France who was visiting India on a University Exchange Programme.
“You see Mr Alfred, ours, and by that I mean India, is a very accommodative and tolerant country. We like to crawl when all that is required of us is to bend a little. We believe God exists in all of us, be it man, woman or transgender; be it living or non-living.”
The Frenchman looked at his Indian colleague for a long time, scratched his head and replied, “ That’s all hogwash. If that were so there wouldn’t be so many killings, rapes and violence in your country. Look at what this so called Godman turned murderer turned rapist’s followers have done, unleashing mayhem and holding the country to ransom for the past one week.”
Embarrassed to the gills and momentarily stumped in the face of such precision pinned logic, Professor Tripathi recovered quickly enough to say, “But that’s human nature, isn’t it? Haven’t you heard of the dictum, “To sin is human, to forgive is divine”.
Not to be outdone, the Frenchman quickly served a repartee, “Oh yeah, works great when the sinner and the forgiver are both one and the same person”.
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The Dera Sacha Sauda chief was convicted of raping two female followers, after which his followers turned violent and 32 people died.
New Delhi: A special CBI court on Monday (August 28) sentenced Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh to ten years in prison. 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.
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 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.