Judge in India calls guru Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh ‘wild beast’ – rules his actions ‘custodial rape’
Self-styled holy man found guilty of sexually assaulting two female followers from 1999 to 2002
The judge said Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, 50, did not deserve any mercy
Unconventional religious leader aka “rockstar baba” and “guru of bling” to serve 2 consecutive 10 year terms
Prosecutors were seeking life sentence
‘Guru’ Singh, who says he has millions of disciples in his ‘Dera Sacha Sauda’ sect, was convicted of raping two women at the headquarters of his sect
At least 38 people killed since Friday, 2,500 arrested in violent clashes as his followers protested his rape conviction
Faces trial on two separate murder charges of – journalists investigating his sect
Attorney representing victims said “40-50 women” had come forward with allegations of rape, they would be seeking further investigation of these fresh allegations
Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh also known as “rockstar baba” and “guru of bling”. performs at rock concerts and acts in movies
A judge in India who sentenced controversial Godman, guru Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, convicted of rape to 20 years in prison, in the process called him a “wild beast” who deserved no leniency.
Judge Jagdeep Singh said in his order that 50-year-old Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh’s assault of his disciples was “custodial rape” and he “deserved maximum punishment”.
The self-styled holy man was found guilty of sexually assaulting two female followers from 1999 to 2002.
Prosecutors had called for a life sentence.
The judge said Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh who up until his conviction appeared ‘invincible’ did not deserve any mercy
A lawyer for the victims said “40-50 women” had come forward with allegations of rape and they would be seeking further investigation in the case.
Apart from the rape charges against him, Ram Rahim Singh denies charges of murder in two cases due to be heard next month.
The army took the Dera sect leader into custody after his conviction. Still, Ram Rahim Singh’s followers turned violent and 38 people were killed after his conviction on Friday. To deliver his judgement on Monday, the judge was flown to the prison where the self-styled holy man was lodged.
In a strongly-worded order, Judge Singh said the convict deserved the “maximum punishment” because he had “projected himself as a Godman and taken undue advantage of his position and authority”, the BBC’s Geeta Pandey reports from Delhi.
“The victims put the convict on the pedestal of ‘god’ and revered him. However, the convict committed breach of the gravest nature by sexually assaulting such gullible and blind followers,” the order read.
Until his conviction and arrest on Friday for rape, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh[photo] appeared invincible.
Now with his fall from grace, victims formerly in the shadows out of fear have come forward and as lurid details of his life are emerging.
The first hint of scandal in Singh’s sprawling compound in the northern state of Haryana came in 2002 when one of his female disciples wrote an anonymous letter accusing him of rape.
In a petition to then PM Atal Behari Vajpayee, the victim described her plight in detail.
“Maharaj [Singh] took me in his embrace and said that he loved me from the core of his heart. He also said that he wanted to make love with me,” she wrote in the letter.
“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. When I objected he said, ‘There is no doubt that I am God’.”
She alleged that he threatened to kill her, saying that since her family members were his “devoted followers with blind faith in him”, they wouldn’t go against him.
He concluded her intimidation by boasting he wold escape any such accusations unscathed, he said, since he enjoyed “considerable influence with governments” and politicians and that he would have both parents sacked from their jobs, and killed too.
This particular victim alleged that she was raped repeatedly over three years, that she was not the only one being exploited, and that if “the press or some government agency” investigated her allegations, “40 to 50 girls living in the Dera Sacha Sauda campus would come forward to reveal the truth”.
The petition prompted the Punjab and Haryana High Courts directing the Central Bureau of Investigation [CBI], to conduct an investigation, culminating in Singh’s conviction and sentencing.
Protesters confront law enforcement as the Dera sect members react violently to rape conviction of their leader in Panchukla
Life and Times of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh
Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, is the decidedly popular leader of the Dera Sacha Sauda sect, which claims to have 60 million followers around the world. At the age of 23, he reportedly, assumed leadership of the sect which describes itself as “a non-profit social welfare and spiritual organisation”.
Now aged 50, Singh is known to perform at rock concerts, act in movies and even has his own line of food products. The unconventional religious leader is known as “rockstar baba” and “guru of bling” because of his shiny, colourful clothes
Has been accused of mocking Sikh and Hindu figures.
The controversial guru has been accused of forcing followers to undergo castration to “get closer to god”. He is currently facing trial for two murders, charges he denies
Destruction in the wake of protests in Delhi after the verdict Ram Singh rape conviction verdict
Protests spread to Panchukla as crowds smashed television trucks after the verdict
The violent clashes following Singh’s conviction led to dozens of deaths, as his followers protested his rape conviction of a popular religious leader in north India.
The victims are believed to be Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh’s followers. Angry supporters rampaged through Panchkula town, near Chandigarh. So far, 2,500 of Singh’s followers have been arrested, police said.
Earlier, his devotees smashed cars and set media vans alight, saying he was innocent.
More than 200,000 of his followers had flocked to the Chandigarh area ahead of Friday’s verdict.
As Ram Rahim Singh was “a very influential figure”, the judge said “he must be sentenced appropriately to send a deterring message for potential offenders”.
“Awarding lesser than maximum punishment would shock the collective conscience of the nation,” he added.
Ram Rahim Singh’s lawyers had argued in the court that he should be let off with a milder sentence because he was “suffering from hypertension, acute diabetes and severe backache” and that he was “a law abiding citizen” who was “engaged in social works of varied nature” and ran hospitals and other welfare works for the benefit of the people.
The judge, in the end, rejected his appeal, saying “when the convict did not even spare his own pious disciples and acted like a wild beast, he did not deserve any mercy”.