Medical

Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh sentenced to 20 years in 2 rape cases

Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh sentenced to 20 years in 2 rape cases

Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was on Monday awarded two consecutive ten-year jail sentences, totalling 20 years in prison, for rape and criminal intimidation of two followers.

In 2014, the dera asked its followers to vote for the BJP, a favour acknowledged by the party when after the election, numerous ministers of the Haryana government paid Ram Rahim a visit to thank him at his Sirsa-based headquarters. This law was enacted after the infamous Delhi gangrape and murder case of a medical student in 2012 in which five men raped the victim and badly mutilated her body.

Last week, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was produced in a Panchkula court that left the city devastated as his several hundred-thousand followers went on the rampage despite the presence of the police and the army.

Among other directions, the bench directed Haryana to file a status report after it had directed that FIR be registered on the basis of a newspaper report in which it was alleged that some senior Dera functionaries had instigated and mobilised followers.

Although he boasts of having millions of followers, there is no authoritative number. The defence sought leniency on the ground that the Dera chief was a social worker who had worked for the welfare of people.

May 2007: Charged with hurting religious sentiments by addressing followers in Salabatpura in bhatinda by dressing like sikh guru Gobind Singh. He hailed the CBI's investigation in the rape case against the Dera head. Meanwhile, a luxury auto was allegedly set on fire on Monday evening at Kotli village near Sirsa around the time the Dera chief's sentence was announced in court, the police said, adding they were probing if the incident involved Dera followers. Inside the gufa, the woman found Ram Rahim watching television with a pistol by his side. Security forces were deployed to contain the situation, with the high court asking the government to use force if necessary. School and colleges have been ordered shut, the government said. The Punjab government has pegged the losses at ₹200 crore, and plans to recover the cost from the Dera. The six persons arrested by the Chandigarh Police during interrogation admitted that they were hired at '1000 per day to spread violence. Almost 1000 dera followers have been arrested so far since Friday. "One for enhancement of the punishment and the other for further investigation into the case", Utsav Singh Bains told Agence France-Presse by phone.

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