What's the case around Dera Sacha Sauda's Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh and why Punjab, Haryana are tensed

The Haryana government has said that it would not hesitate to seek the Army's help if need be to maintain the law and order situation in the wake of the much-awaited verdict

There is massive security around Punjab and Haryana on Friday ahead of the verdict in the rape case against Dera Sacha Sauda’s Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. Over a lakh Dera Sacha Sauda followers have gathered in Panchkula, Haryana as a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court prepares to announce its verdict in the 15-year-old case. The Haryana government has also reportedly said that it would not hesitate to seek the Army’s help if need be to control the situation in the wake of the much-awaited verdict.

What is the case against the spiritual leader all about?

Rape case:

The case against Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh dates back to 2002 when a woman wrote an anonymous letter to the then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee claiming that she and other sadhvis were raped by the spiritual guru. She had written in the letter that after he raped them he had warned her to keep quiet and spoke of his political clout in Haryana and Punjab.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court had in the same year taken suo motu cognisance of the letter and had referred the matter to the CBI for an investigation in September 2002.

Gurmeet Ram Rahim

Gurmeet Ram Rahim

The CBI had thereafter questioned 18 sadhvis who had left the Dera. Some of those questioned admitted that the Dera chief and his followers were “very dangerous people”. Two of the women accused Ram Rahim Singh of rape and one of them claimed that she was told that her rape was to ‘purify’ her.

The CBI had filed a chargesheet in the case on July 30, 2007. CBI officials have reportedly said that they have enough evidence against the self-styled godman and that the statements of the two sadhvis have been recorded before a magistrate under section 164 CrPC.

The anonymous letter:

As per a report in The Hindustan Times, the alleged victim had written in the letter how she was called into the Dera chief’s room one night. She also states how when she entered the room, she saw a pornographic film playing on the television and a firearm lying near the bed where the Dera chief was seated. The victim has alleged in the letter that she was raped by him that night and was assaulted for the next three years under threats.

Sirsa: Security arrangements near Dera Sacha Sauda (Photo: PTI)

Sirsa: Security arrangements near Dera Sacha Sauda (Photo: PTI)

Murder case:

Apart from the rape case, he is also accused of being involved in the murders of Dera follower Ranjit Singh and journalist Ram Chander Chattrapati. Ranjit Singh’s family has alleged that he was murdered as he was suspected to be involved in writing the anonymous letter that the sadhvi sent to the then PM. Ram Chander Chattrapati, on the other hand, had extensively covered and written about the “illegal activities” in the Dera.

While Ranjit was murdered on July 10, 2002, Chattrapati was shot at on October 23, 2002 and succumbed to his injuries after nearly a month.

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