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With over 100 rape victims in all, serial rapist Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was regularly raping about 50 women, alleges victim

CHANDIGARH: Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, the chief of the influential Dera Sacha Sauda sect, was held guilty of rape by a court in a 15-year-old case – a verdict which led to clashes, arson and violence by his supporters leaving almost 38 persons dead and over 300 injured.

However, what has not been highlighted by the media and the law is the fact that Ram Rahim Singh could have raped over 100 other women at the Dera over the last 15 years. The letter written by one of the victims which resulted in the conviction of the godman about 15 years ago, clearly states that 45-50 women who were traumatized at the ashram would come forward to give evidence in the case.

According to NDTV, the two women followers who accused the self-styled “godman” of sexually assaulting and threatening them, have been living in fear; their lawyer said in court that they would have to move to another state if the guru was acquitted. He also spoke about shifting the case out of Haryana for a fair trial.

Where the women are has not been disclosed. As clashes erupted, the lawyer refused to share details and said they would not speak.

ALSO READ: Pitaji Gurmeet MSG used to give maafi to women disciples inside his gufa; maafi was the code word for rape 

The lawyer said one of the survivors has been “very disturbed in the last few days”. Tens of thousands of Dera followers – who call themselves premis – had been gathering in Sirsa – where the Dera has its main headquarters – and Panchkula, where a court pronounced the verdict. As soon as Ram Rahim’s conviction was announced, violence broke out near the court with supporters taking to arson and vandalism.

The Dera chief was formally charged in 2002 after the CBI took the statements of the Sadhvis who alleged they were raped by Ram Rahim in his room at the Sirsa ashram. According to reports, one of them alleged that he justified it saying it would “purify” her.

The allegations surfaced when an anonymous letter apparently written by one of the Sadhvis began circulating. In the three-page letter addressed to then Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, the Union Home Ministry and the High Court among others, the Sadhvi alleged that the Dera chief had raped not just her but other followers too.

The woman said Ram Rahim called her to his “gufa (cave)” – what he called his den – where he was watching TV with a revolver by his side. She alleged that she was raped repeatedly.

Based on the letter, the high court directed the CBI to investigate.

The CBI questioned many Sadhvis and tracked down the two survivors, who testified before a court. The man suspected to be behind the anonymous letter was murdered. In 2008, a CBI court ordered rape charges against Ram Rahim.

“My life has changed after I gave the statement. I can’t move freely. There is danger to my life. I am also apprehensive about lives of my family members,” one of the women told the Indian Express.

She was reported as saying such was the self-styled “godman’s” reign of terror that “nothing can happen without his permission and his followers take his preaching as a message of God.”

The woman said she was confident of getting justice and had waited too long.

An arts graduate, she was persuaded by her parents to become a Sadhvi.

“Fortunately, this case was handled by honest officers from CBI. They have tried their best to ensure justice to us. That’s why we have hope,” she told the Indian Express before the verdict.

According to India Today, Ram Rahim unleashed a reign of terror at the Dera Sacha Sauda. But, a letter, written anonymously by a sadhvi , brought the Dera empire of Gurmeet Ram Rahim down.

After 200 hearings spread over 10 years and numerous stay orders of higher courts, a CBI special trial court in Panchkula on Friday convicted Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, in a case related to raping his female followers. The court will pronounce the sentencing on Monday.

Since Wednesday, parts of Haryana, Punjab and Chandigarh have been under a security lockdown as 200,000 supporters of Ram Rahim had assembled in Panchkula ahead of the verdict.

 ALSO READ: Ram Rahim Insaan owns over 300 cars and over 50 fancy modified vehicles

Baba of bling Ram Rahim Singh head of Dera Sacha Sauda, is now prisoner number 1997

The flashy self-styled godman known for gliding through the air dressed in pink robes in his promotional videos, spent his first night by roaming inside the cell till midnight, prison officials said.

A bowl of dal, two chapatis and mixed pickle were served to him in dinner, they added.

Arrangements have been inside the prison to keep the Dera chief secure. He has no contact with other inmates, Haryana DGP (Jails) K P Singh said.

Here is the full text of the letter due to which the mighty godman of Dera Sacha Sauda crumbled and lost his empire:

To,

Honourable Prime Minister

Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee (Government of India)

Subject: Request for probe into rape of hundreds of girls by Dera chief (Ram Rahim)

I am a girl hailing from Punjab and I have been serving as a sadhvi at Dera Sacha Sauda, Sirsa (Haryana) for the last five years. There are hundreds of other girls, who serve for 16-18 hours a day at the Dera. We are being physically exploited here. Dera Maharaj Gurmeet Singh rapes girls at the Dera. I am a graduate girl. My family members are blind followers of Maharaj (Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh). I became a sadhvi at my family’s bidding.

Two years after I became a sadhvi, Maharaj Gurmeet Singh’s close woman-disciple Gurjot told me one night around 10 pm that I had been summoned to ‘Gufa’ (residence of Gurmeet Ram Rahim). As I was going there for the first time, I was elated that God himself had sent out for me. When I went upstairs, I saw Maharaj sitting on the bed holding a remote control in hand and watching a blue film on TV. Beside his pillow on the bed, lay a revolver. Seeing all this, I was stunned, felt dizziness, and felt as if the earth has moved from beneath my feet. I wondered what at all was happening here.

I had never imagined that Maharaj would be such a person. Maharaj switched off the TV and seated me beside him. He offered me water and said that he had called me because he considered me very dear to him. This was my first day (experience).

Maharaj took me in his arms and said that he loved me from the core of his heart. He also said that he wanted to make love with me. He told me that at the time of becoming his disciple, I had dedicated my wealth, body and soul to him and he had accepted my offering. By this logic, your body is mine now.

When I objected he said, “There is no doubt that I am God.” When I asked if God also indulges in such acts, he shot back:

1. Sri Krishna too was God and he had 360 gopis (milkmaids) with whom he staged Prem Lila (love drama). Even then people regarded him as God. This is not a new thing.

2. I can kill you with this revolver and cremate you here. The members of your family are my devoted followers and they have such blind faith in me that they are my slaves. You know it very well that your family members cannot go against me.

3. I have considerable influence in the governments. The chief ministers of Punjab and Haryana, and central Ministers touch my feet. Politicians seek my support and take money from me. They cannot take any action against me. We will get your family members dismissed from government jobs. I will get them killed and wouldn’t leave any evidence behind. You know it very well that I had got Dera manager Fakir Chand killed earlier. No one knows anything about him till date. Neither there is any evidence of the murder. By money power, I can buy politicians, police and justice.

Thus, he raped me. For the past three months, my turn comes every 25-30 days. Now, I realise that he has been raping other girls staying with him.

Around 35-40 women living at the Dera are over 35-40 years old and past the marriageable age. They have compromised with their lives at the Dera. Most of the girls are educated and have secured BA, MA, BEd degrees. But they are living a life of hell at the Dera because their family members are fanatic followers. We wear white clothes, cover heads with scarf, forbidden to look at men and keep a distance of 5-10 feet from men as per Maharaj’s commands.

We appear like devis (pious women), but our situation is that of prostitutes. I tried once to tell my family members that all was not well at the Dera. But, they got angry with me saying that if God’s company is not worth enjoying then which place would be. It seems your mind has become corrupt, recite the name of satguru (the real teacher), they told me.  I am helpless. I have to obey every command of the Maharaj.

No girl is permitted to talk to another. As per the commands of the Maharaj, girls are not permitted to talk to their families even over telephone. If a girl talks about the reality of the Dera, she is punished under the commands of the Maharaj. Just a few days ago, a Bathinda girl spoke about the wrongdoings of the Maharaj, she was thrashed by women-disciples. She is still bed-ridden at her home due to this assault. Her father has left his service as a sevadar (servant of Dera). She is not telling anyone anything for the fear of Maharaj.

Similarly, a girl from Kurukshetra district has also left the Dera and went back home. When she narrated her sufferings at the Dera to her family, her brother who worked as a sevadar, gave up his job. When a Sangrur girl left the Dera, went home and narrated the wrongdoings at the Dera to the people, the Dera’s armed sewadar hooligans visited the girl’s home and threatened to kill her. They warned her not to tell anyone anything about the Dera.

Similarly, girls from Mansa, Ferozepur, Patiala and Ludhiana districts (of Punjab) have gone back home and are keeping mum as they have threat to their lives. Same is the fate of girls from Sirsa, Hissar, Fatehabad, Hanumangarh and Meerut who are not uttering a word due to muscle power of the Dera goondas.

If I reveal my name (and) my address, my family and I will be killed. I can’t keep quiet and I also don’t want to die, but I want to expose the reality (of Dera). If a probe is conducted by the press or some government agency, 40 to 45 girls – living in utmost fear at the Dera -, if they are convinced, are willing to tell the truth.

Our medical examination should be conducted so that our guardians and the people would know whether we are still celibate disciples or not. If we are no longer virgins, it should be probed as to who violated our chastity. The truth will then come out that Maharaj Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh of Sacha Sauda has ruined our lives.

Several years after their rapes, the two survivors recorded their statements before the judges in 2009 and 2010. These first-hand accounts of the sufferings of the two Sadhvis eventually sealed the fate of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, leading to his conviction last week.

In their depositions on oath before CBI judges, the sadhvis had given the sequences of events, narrating horrifying tales of how the “powerful Baba” used to rape them and other women of the dera inside his ‘gufa’ (a customised underground chamber that was his personal residence).

According to these statements, copies of which were accessed by TOI, the survivors stated that while raping, Gurmeet used to flaunt his ‘clout’ and his status as ‘god’. They also disclosed that the word ‘maafi’ (pardon) was the code used among disciples to describe rapes. Only female disciples were deployed to guard his underground living quarters, the statement said.

The survivors said in their depositions that most of the girls chose to stay inside the dera after being impressed with his stature as a spiritual leader and also because their family members were his staunch followers.

According to one survivor, from Yamunanagar in Haryana, who deposed before special CBI judge A K Verma on February 28, 2009, she started living in the dera in July 1999 because of her brother, who was later murdered reportedly for seeking justice for his sister.

Gurmeet Ram Rahim’s background
1. Guru Ram Rahim Singh was born to Naseeb Kaur and Maghar Singh on August 15, 1967, in Sriganganagar, Rajasthan. He was the only child of his parents and started helping his father by driving a tractor on their field. He is married to Harjeet Kaur and has three daughters and a son. They all use Insan as their last name.

 

2. Gurmeet’s rise in Dera Sacha Sauda
Gurmeet Ram Rahim is head of the India-based socio-spiritual organisation Dera Sacha Sauda, which was founded by Shah Mastana of Baluchistan in 1948. Shah Satnam succeeded Mastana and remained head from 1948 to 1960. Rahim’s father was a devote follower Satnam. On September 23, 1990, Shah Satnam held a satsang where he publicly conferred succession of the spiritual leadership upon Gurmeet Ram Rahim. Rahim was 23 years old then. He launched his ‘MSG’ range of “swadeshi and organic” products about two years ago. The business is looked after by the Dera chief’s children.

 

3. Ram Rahim – the ‘pied piper’
Gurmeet Ram Rahim has a massive following of over 200,000. On Twitter, he has a following of 3.74 million followers. This number is way more than Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (2.26 million) and yoga guru Ramdev (938K) Twitter following. On Facebook, he has 683,192 followers and 673,278 people have liked his page.

 

4. Gurmeet Ram Rahim as a rockstar
Apart from being a spiritual guru with millions of followers, he is also a singer, actor and entrepreneur. He has made movies such as Messenger of God, MSG 2. The movies showed him as swashbuckling, bike riding, rhinestone-clothes wearing saviour of the human kind. In the sequel of MSG, he sang six songs in six different voices. He has released successful albums like ‘Love Charger’, ‘Chora Babbar Sher Ka’, ‘Network Tere Love Ka’, ‘Love Rab Se’ and ‘Thank You For That’. An adventure lover, Baba, in one of his concerts sang a song called ‘Chocolate’ by suspending himself at 30 feet above ground level in a moving crane.

 

5. Gurmeet Ram Rahim’s lavish lifestyle
He drives a Range Rover SUV and has a convoy of 100 vehicles which includes 16 black Ford Endeavours. Ram Rahim’s Facebook page identifies him as Spiritual Saint/ Philanthropist/ Versatile Singer/ All-rounder Sportsperson/ Film Director/ Actor/ Art Director/ Music Director/ Writer/ Lyricist/ Autobiographer/ DOP/ Action Director/ Choreographer/ Editor/ Music Composer/ DI Head/ Costume Designer.

 

6. Gurmeet Ram Rahim’s arrest
Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Insan has been convicted in a rape case by a CBI court. In 2002, one of his female followers alleged that she and two other females were raped by Ram Rahim in his den when she entered his secret chamber where he was watching a blue film. The rape victim later wrote a letter to the then PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee and the Judges of Punjab and Haryana court. In her letter, she accused the Rockstar Baba of raping her. The court ordered a CBI probe. In 2007, CBI charged this “Saint” under sections 376 (rape) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of Indian Penal Code.

 

7. Gurmeet Ram Rahim’s followers
The ‘rockstar’ baba is known for giving spiritual discourse in more modern ways. From ‘naam charcha’ to ‘Ru-ba-ru nights’, Ram Rahim is a cult figure among his followers. On his birthday this year, 125 Ram Rahim admirers and followers simultaneously lit 1,50,000 candles on a single birthday cake.

 

8. Gurmeet Ram Rahim’s influence over leaders
Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh is one of the 36 people in the country who enjoys a VVIP Status and a Z level security cover. This is because he is a well-known wielder of influence amongst politicians in Haryana, Rajasthan, and Punjab. His organization supported BJP in the Bihar assembly election in 2015, and nearly 3000 Dera followers campaigned for BJP in the state.

 

9. Gurmeet Ram Rahim’s philanthropy
His ‘devotees’ hail him for his social service. From working during Gujarat earthquake to organising biggest blood donation camps, Ram Rahim has encouraged supporters and done it all. The Dera followers have also created ‘World Records’ for organising the largest blood donation camp in December 2003, in which more than 15000 donors participated.

 

10. Ram Rahim’s 53 world records
According to TOI, He has received an honorary doctorate degree from the UK-based World Records University. “Ram Rahim has 53 world records in various categories, out of which 17 are Guinness records, 27 are Asia Book records, 7 India Book records and 2 are Limca records. Basically, Babaji’s personality is an all-round one, which we considered. In the five years of India operations, the university has awarded around 100 Indians so far,” the university had said in a statement.

with inputs from TOI, IE, NDTV, Business Standard & India Today

 

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