Self-proclaimed godman Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was on Friday convicted in a rape case by a special CBI court in Panchkula. Following the verdict, widespread violence erupted in several parts of Haryana and Punjab. At least 27 people were killed in Panchkula and 3 deaths were reported at Dera’s headquarters in Sirsa. Scores of Godman’s followers ran amok, setting ablaze vehicles, buildings and railway stations. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a series of tweets on Friday night, condemned the violence and said the law and order situation is being monitored closely.

Meanwhile, the Punjab and Haryana High Court ordered to attach the entire property of the organisation for the damage they caused to public property. The Court also rebuked the state government to let the situation go out of hand. “You enabled this…you allowed large numbers to reach here…now you are whining that you don’t have enough forces,” the court said, faulting the government of Haryana for “already having failed to maintain law and order.”

The Justice would never have been served if an anonymous letter purportedly written by a sadhvi (woman follower) would not have reached the Punjab and Haryana High Court which took conginsance of the matter and referred it to the CBI.

In the letter addressed to then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Haryana CM and host of other top institutions, the sadhvi narrated her ordeal and accused Ram Rahim of raping her and other sadhvis.

The three page letter was received by the high court by post on May 5, was also addressed to Union home ministry, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) besides media offices seeking probe into the alleged wrongdoings in Dera.

While most of the recepients did not react, the High Court recommended that the matter be investigated through a central agency. It was a challenge for CBI to trace the sadhvis who had left the dera allegedly due to physical exploitation and convince them to depose against Ram Rahim. Finally they managed to trace two victims and file a chargesheet against him in 2007.

Narrating her ordeal , one of the victims said she along with 40-45 other girls was doing service in the dera for years. Two years after she had become a sadhvi, Ram Rahim called her into his ‘gufa’ where she was threatened and then raped by him. The woman alleged she was then repeatedly raped by the dera chief, who told her that no authority could proceed against him. She later came to know that other women followers were also exploited before and after her.

Ram Rahim after Court’s verdict

Source: Hindustan Times