Mumbai: Erstwhile superhero, now a convict. Yes, the infamous godman Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh has finally been convicted for rape. And it was definitely not an easy task.
The godman’s numerous devotees and fans in the form of ‘Hooligans’ disturbed and affected the peace of the two states viz; Punjab & Haryana adversely. Massive security forces both police and paramilitary forces were deployed in Sirsa and Panchkula and neighbouring areas, 72 trains were cancelled, schools and shops were shut down. The godman’s private army kept vigil while devotees carrying sticks in their hands raised slogans that they would not tolerate their spiritual leader’s ‘victimisation’ at any cost and declared him innocent. Big flexboards of Gurmeet Ram Rahim in different avatars dotted the roadside. Yes! the so called superhero’s army displayed a war like situation in the State. Ram Rahim finally arrived for the verdict in a 200 car cavalcade at Panchkula.
In the aftermath of CBI Court verdict finding the Guru guilty, his devotees went on the rampage, setting fire to vehicles, buildings and railway stations. Police responded by opening fire, leaving thirty people dead and 250 injured. Ram Rahim has been flown out of Panchkula in a government helicopter to a guesthouse in Rohtak and will be later moved to a special prison cell. He will be sentenced on Monday.
Gurmeet Ram Rahim is not an ordinary man. He is one of 36 VVIPs who has Z+ security cover. The Indian spiritual leader and head of the socio-spiritual organization Dera Sacha Sauda (DSS) since 23 September 1990 is a social reformer, actor, director and singer as well. Politically influential in the Malwa region of Punjab, he claims to have over 20 Lakh followers in Delhi and Haryana and has leading politicians making a bee line to win his favor.
In 2002, a female devotee allegedly penned an anonymous letter to then Prime Minister of India, Atal Vajpayee, accusing Singh of sexual abuse. Of the 10 sadhvis who had left the Dera, only two of them showed the courage and recorded statements before a magistrate . The rape survivors disclosed that the word ‘maafi’ (pardon) was the code used among disciples to describe rapes.
In May 2007, Singh courted controversy by wearing an attire resembling to Guru Gobind Singh invoking ire amongst the Sikhs. Ram Rahim was subsequently attacked by a mob in July 2007, but escaped unhurt. The tensions between the Sikh community and the Dera have been exploited by the pro-Khalistan elements and an attack was made by them on the Guru in 2008. Subsequently, Government of India provided him with a Z+ security cover.
The Guru came into the limelight all over India after the release of his films — MSG: The Messenger, MSG-2 The Messenger, MSG: The Warrior Lion Heart, Hind Ka Napak ko Jawab – MSG Lion Heart – 2 Jattu Engineer. Ram Rahim was even awarded with the Bright Award for best actor and most versatile personality of the year by none other than the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Devendra Fadnavis in Feb this year.
The Indian people have lessons to be learnt from this episode. Time and again the poor have been gullible to such ‘godmen’ but never learn from their mistakes. One can only hope that his devotees, mostly Dalit Sikhs, are awakened to the actual reality that was Guru Ram Rahim and stay away from clutches of such ‘godmen’ in the future.