Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Ji Insan
This is a collection of articles archived for the excellence of their content.
As in 2015: on his cinema debut
January 15, 2015
Hame maarna apne-aap ko maarne ke barabar hai (To hurt me is akin to hurting yourself)," the grim assertion by India's newest portly cinematic 'superhero' rings out almost like a warning. A reminder, if you may, to those he sees as his 'tormentors', that it will not be easy to take him down with a 50-million-strong fan following that will surely expand once his first movie-MSG: The Messenger of God makes it past the Censor Board to hit 3,000 screens he has hired across India.
47-year-old Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh-yogi, social worker, formally presented by the Dera Sacha Sauda (DSS), the multi-religion sect he heads, as "a saint in the Sufi mould" but without exception revered by over 50 million devoted followers in India and abroad as "God himself".
Most outside the flock would perhaps better recall him as the scandalous guru accused of unspeakable tyrannies-sexual harassment, rape, two counts of murder and, as recently as on December 23, a court-ordered CBI inquest into charges of forcibly castrating adherents.
But as the Dera's chief spokesman Aditya Insan, an ophthalmologist who trained at Delhi's All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and also accepts Singh as his God, insists, "There is always an alternative narrative which is often closer to the truth." While the jury is still out on the allegations against the Dera chief and as the spokesman points out that "even after 13 years, the CBI is still struggling to find from where the first letter (in 2002) containing allegations of sexual misconduct was posted", the other side to Singh's story is decidedly incredible. The only child of Maghar Singh and Nasib Kaur, a land-owning Jat Sikh couple from Rajasthan's Sri Ganganagar district, Singh inherited leadership of the Dera when the ageing incumbent chief Shah Satnam Singh passed him the gaddi in 1990.
From a total 'subscriber' base of under 1 million adherents, the Dera's following swelled more than 50 times under Singh's leadership. Insan claims that "nearly 70 per cent of Guruji's followers are youth who have chosen to forsake intoxicants, non-vegetarian food and immorality", the three cardinal rules Singh insists all his followers must strictly observe.
It was the overwhelming population of young people amid his flock that led Singh to song, dance and eventually to cinema. "It is a sugar-coated pill of quinine to attract the youth," he admitted to a reporter in one of his first media interactions two months ago.
MSG, the dera chief's debut cinematic presentation, is an over-the-top rendition of the Bollywood formula blockbuster, about the truth triumphing over evil. It comes with an overdose of rock and rap music, dance and action sequences, and a surfeit of bad guybashing, in an intensely psychedelic theatrical rendition which he believes will wean young people away from narcotics and immoral behaviour.
Lead actor, co-director, lyricist, playback singer, set and costume designer for the movie, Singh plays himself as a larger-than-life protagonist pulling off impossible stunts that will perhaps instigate southern superstar Rajinikanth into rethinking his fabled onscreen antics. He is shown riding custom-crafted superbikes, all-terrain vehicles, even hopping on and off helicopters possibly inspired by a mix of James Bond and Akshay Kumar cinema.
Singh's tryst with song and dance began three years ago when he staged his first rub-a-ru or face-to-face rock session in October 2011. Until a month ago, he had performed at 102 concerts across multiple venues-from his headquarters outside Sirsa in Haryana to Delhi, Mumbai and several locations in his home state of Rajasthan.
Dera managers claim every concert pulled in more than 100,000 enthusiastic fans. "All my songs-rock, pop, rap, hip-hop and melody-are devoted to God and to inspire the youth," he says explaining that he only chooses modern forms because young people these days do not understand classical music.
And what's more, Insan proudly informs you that "Guruji writes his own lyrics and has arranged the musical score for every one of his 1,000 songs". But wait, there is actually a whole lot else to the unpublished "alternative narrative" around the Dera and its chief that Insan talks about.
Despite his unending spate of troubles with the law, the Dera under Singh has accumulated an impressive and long list of achievements that would leave most other social outfits gasping.
As part of 104 ongoing public welfare projects, voluntary donation campaigns run by the DSS have collected more than 300,000 litres of blood, bringing in three successive Guinness World Records. The Dera also won 13 Guinness awards for de-addiction, ophthalmological, diabetes and cardiac clinics, tree-plantation and cleanliness drives.
Health campaigns under the aegis of the Sirsa-based Shah Satnam Ji Speciality Hospital have also received recognition from the American Society of Echocardiography, the American College of Cardiology and a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation three years ago.
Also, from the 2001 Gujarat earthquake, the devastating floods in Uttarakhand in 2013 to the floods in Kashmir in 2014, the Shah Satnam Ji Green 'S' Welfare Force Wing, by now a 70,000-strong collective of trained volunteers, has delivered disaster relief in some of the most adverse circumstances.
Singh insists that the allegations against him, including the latest charge of subjecting 400 adherents to forced castrations, are false. He points to "conspiracies" by liquor and drug cartels and their political masters who, according to him, lose business due to the DSS's campaign against alcohol and narcotics.
As per its own claims, the Dera- since Singh assumed charge in 1990- has "rescued close to five crore people from the clutches of alcoholism and drug abuse". Insan cites the instance of a Tohana-based businessman, Purshottam Das Mittal, who voluntarily shut down 100 liquor vends he owned after being blessed by the Dera chief in the 1990s.
Starting out from the extensive barren wasteland where his predecessors set up the first ashram outside Sirsa town, the DSS has now spread to 46 centres across India in addition to smaller overseas communities in California, Victoria (Australia), the United Kingdom, Canada and Dubai.
Predictably, the rapidly expanding DSS community, with known pockets of influence in Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan, has over the years brought politicians of all hues flocking to Singh's doorstep, each of them seeking his blessings, but more importantly his benevolence before an election.
And though the Dera chief insists that he has never directed his followers to vote for a particular politician or political party, the DSS's political wing, the Saadh Sangat Rajnitik, invariably sends out a clear signal on the preferred political direction ahead of any state assembly or Lok Sabha election.
Likewise, just days before polling day in the Haryana assembly polls last October, the DSS's political wing declared support for the BJP. This after Kailash Vijayvargiya, the party's election in-charge for Haryana, met the Dera chief with 40 BJP candidates.
The decision to support the saffron party was significantly also preceded by PM Narendra Modi's public praise for the DSS's cleanliness drives during an election speech at Narnaund.
"But we have always sided with people committed to cleanliness and eradicating social evils," says Singh.
For the moment though, with the elections behind him, Singh is preoccupied with shooting for the sequel to his yet-to-be released debut movie. Like its prequel, MSG-2 will feature the Dera chief as the central protagonist and superhero fighting to emancipate tribals in remote districts of Rajasthan.
THE MAN BEHIND INSAN
Ajay Sura The Times of India Jan 18 2015
He sings, wears bling and is spiritual king for lakhs. Meet the controversial star guru Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Insan
The 48-year-old was born in Gurusar Modia, a small village in Rajasthan. Claiming to have supernatural abilities since childhood Ram Rahim, popularly known as Meeta, became the third head of Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda in September 1990. He has not renounced his family and has two daughters and a son. His son, Jasmeet Singh Insan, has been anointed as his successor.
When it comes to cars, the Dera head is up to speed. He is fond of bikes, swanky cars and customizes them to his taste. He has a fleet that includes a Lexus, Audi, Mercedes, Toyota and BMW. He always travels with decoy cars, which are bulletproof, jammer-fitted imported SUVs with the same colour and registration number for safety reasons.He has several modified bikes, which he uses while performing Ruhani Nights (his stage shows). The modified vehicles seen in his upcoming movie are said to have been designed by him.He also charters flights frequently and has a small airstrip on the Dera premises.
Though there are no official figures for his assets, it is estimated Ram Rahim has around 700 acres of agricultural land in Sirsa, hospitals, “nam charcha ghars“ (religious discourse places) and market complexes across almost all towns and cities of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal and Rajasthan.Besides a world-class cricket stadium, petrol pumps, a multi-speciality hospital, the Dera Sacha Sauda also has a five-star SMG Resorts in Sirsa. As part of its expansion plans, the resort will offer 16 Wonder villas with private pools, 10 Water villas with rooms under water, an international spa, 7-D theatre and a convention centre. The Dera has an international footprint with over 250 ashrams.
GURU IS BIG ON GAANA
According to Dera sources, his six popular albums -“Thank U for That“, “Network Tere Love Ka“, “Chashma Yaar Ka“, “Insan“, “Lov Rabb Se“ and “Highway Love Charger“ -have collectively sold over 10 million copies. Songs from his new film MSG (The Messenger of God) -which he has written, composed and produced -span electronic dance music to rap (a track titled Daaru Ko Goli Maaro) and hip-hop.
CHEF & FEMINIST
He's a man of many talents.Thirty-four to be precise, according to his official website that lists “Excellent Chef, Cost Effective Technology Developer, Feminist, Global Warming Mitigator“ among Ram Rahim's special gifts.A “Sportsman par Excellence“, he reportedly plays over 32 games including volleyball, kabaddi, tennis, cricket, football and water polo, loves adventure (He once sang a song called `Chocolate' in a live concert, suspended 30 feet above the ground from a moving crane) and has “amazing photography skills“.
He has abandoned his white kurta-pyjama avatar and reinvented himself as `Guru of Bling'. He strikes quite a kitschy pose with his garish costumes, turbans and tiaras and arm bling. His website calls his look “morally uplifting fashion“ and he claims that he only wears outfits that he has designed. He had over 100 costumes made for the film.A Guru Gobind Singh outfit got him mired in a controversy in 2007. He has had Z-plus security since then.
ONE & ONLY
He is reported to have over 5 crore followers across India and abroad. They all use the surname Insan. Imitating their guru, they wear blue lockets shaped like the numerical 1, suggesting one identity and one God. In the last Haryana elections, he supported the BJP after Amit Shah visited the Dera last year. After forming government, various MLAs, ministers and party top brass are reported to have visited the Dera to seek his blessings.
When Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh turned 23, he was asked by the then Dera chief to lead the sect, following which he left his family.
The life of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, who was sentenced to 20 years in jail for raping two of his disciples, has been shrouded in mystery.
The Dera chief (born 1967) left his three children and wife at the age of 23 to head the Sirsa-based sect.
In an earlier interview to AajTak, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh opened up about his life and how he became the 'spiritual leader' of Dera Sacha Sauda. Here are the excerpts:
Gurmeet Ram Rahim claimed to be the only child of his parents. According to Ram Rahim, his parents were childless even 18 years after their marriage. His parents, who were followers of Dera Sacha Sauda, brought up their concern in front of then Dera chief Sant Triveni Das.
The then Dera Sauda chief reportedly told Ram Rahim's parents that they would have a child but put a condition to it. Sant Triveni Das said that the child would be with his parents till he turns 23 and then he would set out to do the job that he was destined to do. Ram Rahim claimed that once his parents agreed to this condition, he was born to them in a few months' time.
In the interview, Gurmeet Ram Rahim claimed that his father knew that he would take 'sanyas' at the age of 23. That was the reason, he claimed, why his parents decided to get him married when he was 17. He has a son and two daughters from his marriage.
When Ram Rahim Singh turned 23, he was asked by the then Dera chief to lead the sect, following which he left his family. According to some local reporters, Ram Rahim Singh's wife continues to stay at Dera. In the later years, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh also adopted Honeypreet as his daughter.
TAKING TO MOVIES
During the interview, Dera chief said that he started acting in films to encourage and inspire the youth, and claimed to have performed all the stunts in his movies. He said one of his primary mission was to wean the youth off drugs.
Gurmeet Ram Rahim is married to Harjeet Kaur, with whom he has three daughters and a son.
A 23-year-old boy Gurmeet Singh became Huzoor Maharaj Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh ji. Before becoming an ascetic he had a family that he officially renounced but like all other dualities in his life, he continued to be the head of the family. His story is as astonishing and colourful as his films.
He did not have humble beginnings. His father Maghar Singh was a landlord in Rajasthan's Sri Ganganagar district. Mother Naseeb Kaur was a god-fearing housewife. Maghar Singh came in touch with Dera Sacha Sauda pretty early in life. The dera founded by Baba Balochistani Beparwah Mastana ji attracted followers from the backward and dalit sections of society, who couldn't get the equality that Sikhism promised. Jat and Khatri Sikhs never accorded them equality in practice.
Maghar Singh was a Jat Sikh. The dera head Shah Satnam was a Khatri Sikh, who had succeeded Mastana. Maghar Singh was a follower of Satnam Shah and devoted a lot of time in spreading his spiritual leader's thoughts. Maghar Singh's son Gurmeet wasn't as spiritual but accompanied his father to the dera.
Gurmeet Singh's friend Gurjant Singh was jailed after he avenged his uncle's murder. In jail Gurjant was radicalised by separatist Khalistani militants. Once he came out of the jail, Gurjant became a Khalistani terrorist and rose quickly in the ranks. Gurmeet meanwhile was a full-time worker in the dera, doing odd jobs, driving a tractor or assisting his father in seva.
The Invisible Wife Of Dera Chief Ram Rahim
The big question is where is Ram Rahim's wife?
Pictures of some of Ram Rahim's family members are often seen on social media platforms. Sometimes, Ram Rahim is also seen posing with his daughters and sons-in-law at events.
Then, why is Ram Rahim's wife never seen at public gatherings? Is it because she wants to avoid the spotlight or is it part of a carefully worked-out strategy to keep Ram Rahim's wife away from public gatherings?
These unanswered questions elicit various responses from the followers of Dera Sacha Sauda. While some claim that Ram Rahim's wife often participates in Dera's public programmes, yet others say that they have heard about her but never seen her.
A follower of Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda says that she has not seen Ram Rahim's wife in any public gathering for the last five years. She says that Ram Rahim's wife maintains an extremely low profile and it is sometimes difficult to spot her at a Dera event.
Dera Sacha Sauda chief Ram Rahim's wife is Harjeet Kaur. Ram Rahim left school after Class 10 and married Harjeet Kaur.
Some followers of Dera Sacha Sauda say that Ram Rahim's wife Harjeet Kaur stays inside the Dera complex but is hardly seen by even those who stay there. Those who know Ram Rahim's wife say that she prefers wearing simple clothes that disciples (saadhikayein) wear and likes to sit among them. This is essentially the reason why she is often not recognised by Dera followers.
Some say that she stays away from the spotlight and keeps herself busy with community work at Dera. However, exact details of her location and her role within the Dera organisation are not known.
On the day when the special CBI court sentenced Ram Rahim to 20 years in jail in a rape case, his wife Harjeet Kaur maintained a stoic silence on the issue.
Sudden, controversial elevation as Dera head
Then, in an unexpected announcement, dera head Shah Satnam announced that he would retire after handing over the leadership to a successor. There were three contenders. Gurmeet was not one of them. In a surprise public announcement, the dera head anointed Gurmeet Singh his successor and gave him the name Huzoor Maharaj Gurmeet Ram Rahim.
People in Sirsa say Gurjant Singh and a revolver were involved in the process. There is no evidence of any threat of violence, but people still attribute Gurmeet's rise to Gurjant's notoriety. Gurjant was later killed by security forces in Mohali.
The new dera head wasn't as simple-living-high-thinking leader as his predecessors. His love for shiny costumes took an obsessive tone later. He has a son and two daughters when he became celibate. The family that he publicly renounced continued to be with him in his dera quarters. He himself was surrounded by sadhikas (women devotee attendees). He later adopted a bubbly young girl Honeypreet Insan as his third daughter. The three call themselves Papa's Angels. All other devotees also call him Pitaji or Papa ji. Honeypreet Insan is the same woman who accompanied Baba Ram Rahim while he was being flown in a helicopter from the police lines complex in Panchkula.
Both Charanpreet and Amarpreet are married to men given really fancy names by Baba Ram Rahim. Charanpreet's sons are named Sweetluck Singh and Subah-e-Dil. The daughters have acted in his MSG series of films. The sons-in-law assist in managing the dera business. His son Jasmeet Insan ( a surname all his followers adopt) is married to a Punjab Congress MLA's daughter Husanmeet Kaur, now Insan.
Ram Rahim built a cave-themed palatial underground home in the dera where he would meditate and sexually exploit women. Based on the concept of harem in palaces, he would choose girls from among the devotees, make them surrender their bodies before him and these women would later remain in the dera and wait for being married off to male devotees who followed his orders like slaves or devotees do. These women were guarded by men allegedly neutered or castrated by the dera. This was not a secret. His private quarters were always guarded by his trusted gang of girls.
The rape, by the way, was called an act of pardon (maafi to be precise). Some women, as was later revealed, believed it was a blessing. But not all. The two women who testified against him had similar stories. The primary complainant, whose anonymous letter to Atal Bihari Vajpayee, became the basis of an FIR by CBI in 2002, told the CBI court that she was called by Pitaji (that's what they call him) into his gufa (cave) in the intervening night of August 28 and 29, 1999 for granting maafi (pardon). He threatened to kill her if she did not give in. The rape made her realise the reality of the dera. She complained to her brother, who revolted and escaped with her. He was later murdered.
The second complainant had grown up in the dera where her parents taught in a school. She was guarding the cave residence of the guru. He called her and she went in. The so-called Pitaji was in bed, apparently naked. She was shocked and tried running away. But it was too late. Nobody came to help her. She was raped. She managed to escape later. She lived to tell her story to the CBI court.
There are scores of other women who have remained silent out of fear or hopelessness. While the man loved his daughters and married them off to a life in luxury, his victims, who he called daughters, but treated like slaves have to live lives without dignity.
“Your love makes spring of the world,“ sang controversial preacher Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Insan in his musical album `Highway Love Charger' released in May 2014.Less than a year later, he would release his first movie `MSG: The Messenger of God', solidifying his image of `Rock Star Baba'.
Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Insan, who became the head of Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda in 1990, is among the most “multi-talented“ spiritual leaders in the country . SaintPhilanthropistVersatile SingerAllrounder SportspersonFilm DirectorActorArt DirectorMusic Director WriterLyricist... goes the list in the bio on his verified twitter handle.
His dera is just as diversified and spread out, controlling assets worth crores. The real strength of the dera, however, is its lakhs of followers, who are standing behind the 50-year-old preacher, despite criminal charges like rape and murder against him. He has been described by his followers as social reformer, religious teacher, engineer, agriculturist and author.
Born in Gurusar Modia, a small village of Rajasthan's Sri Ganganagar district, in a simple family , he apparently likes being addressed as “his holiness“ and his family “the royal family“. The transformation has not been gradual.
Claiming to have supernatural abilities from childhood, he was known as Meeta in his youth. When he first took over the dera, the preacher used to dress up in a simple white kurta-pajama. But he reinvented himself into what many call the `Guru of Bling' with garish costumes, elaborate headgears and jewellery galore. His wardrobe has been called a mix between costumes from B R Chopra's Mahabharat and that of an eccentric rock star.
The baba, who is fond of luxuries like custom-made cars and jets, all claimed to be designed by him, not only has ashrams running into hundreds of acres across the globe but is also believed to have earned hundreds of crores from the movies he has made in which he plays a hero with almost Superman-like qualities. He has produced five movies so far -`MSG' being the most popular.
Gurmeet is also among the very few `VVIPs' in the country who enjoy Z-Plus security .
His Excellency's clout
Z plus category security
1) Despite charges of murder, conspiracy, and rape against him, the Dera chief enjoys Z-category security provided by Haryana Police and moves around in a fleet of bulletproof luxury sport utility vehicles.
2) He is the head of the India-based socio-spiritual organisation Dera Sacha Sauda since September 23, 1990. Apart from being a spiritual guru with millions of followers, he is also a singer, actor and entrepreneur.
3) He is among the 36 Indians to have a VVIP status and hence merits Z-level security, in addition to his own private guards.
4) He is married to Harjeet Kaur and has two daughters - Charanpreet Kaur and Amarpreet Kaur, and a son named Jasmeet Singh.
5) According to his website, he is said to play a wide range of sports that include volleyball, kabaddi, lawn tennis, cricket, football, billiards, table tennis, snooker, basketball, water polo and others.
6) He has received an honorary doctorate degree from the UK-based World Records University. "Ram Rahim has 53 world records in various categories, out of which 17 are Guinness records, 27 are Asia Book records, 7 India Book records and 2 are Limca records. Basically, Babaji's personality is an all-round one, which we considered. In the five years of India operations, the university has awarded around 100 Indians so far," the university had said in a statement.
7) He has written, produced, directed and acted in three movies. And in all of them, he can be seen wearing fancy colourful clothes, riding a motorcycle, performing heroic feats and thrashing bad folks.
2014: Haryana BJP ministers, 18 BJP MLAs, defeated BJP candidates, party in-charge meet Mr. Insan
Sirsa (Haryana): BJP ministers and more than 18 party MLAs in Haryana led by state party in-charge Kailash Vijayvargiya met the powerful chief of Dera Sacha Sauda sect Gurmeet Ram Rahim Insaan on a thanksgiving mission.
The Dera had publicly offered support to the BJP in the recently concluded assembly elections in Haryana.
Kailash Vijayvargiya arrived in Sirsa from Delhi by a chopper and went to Teravas (residence) of the Dera chief, alongwith party ministers and MLAs to pay obeisance.
Those who met the Dera chief included
Haryana Assembly speaker Kanwarpal Gurjar,
Minister of State Krishna Bedi,
Party MLAs O P Yadav, Nayab Saini, Ghanshyam Das, Balwant Singh, Manish Grover, Kulwant Bajigar, Subhash Barala, Kamal Gupta, Rohita Rewari, Dr Pawan Saini, Subhash Sudha, Bakhshish Singh Virk, Harvinder Kalyan, Shyam Singh Rana, Seema Trikha, and Krishan Lal Panwar.
Even BJP candidates who fought the elections and lost also called on the Dera chief.
They included Randhir Singh Palam, Shamsher Singh Kharkada, Ramchandra Jangda, Virendra Singh, Devkumar Sharma, Jagdish Nehra, Sunita Setia, Santosh Yadav, Pawan Beniwal, Simal Gabipur, Sunita Duggal and Pradip Kharkhauda.
The Dera chief gave his blessings to the BJP leaders and asked them to work for the socio-economic upliftment of humanity and remove social evils. He specifically called for action against female foeticide, drug abuse, and sex trade.
Haryana Assembly Speaker Kanwarpal Gurjar promised that the new government would work towards eradicating social evils..
Clout across party lines
Both the Congress and the BJP have sought electoral favours from Dera chief Ram Rahim, who was convicted in rape by CBI court yesterday.
1The BJP sought support from Ram Rahim in 2014 Lok Sabha and Haryana polls.
2Ram Rahim supported Congress in Punjab polls in 2007.
3Haryana ministers have donated Rs 1.12 crore to Ram Rahim.
Founded in 1948 by Shah Mastana Balochistani, Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda of Gurmeet Ram Rahim has followers in several states including Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan. The followers of Ram Rahim are mainly Dalits but he has sizeable support base among Sikhs, Muslims and Christians in Haryana and Punjab.
Gurmeet Ram Rahim has always claimed to be apolitical, but his Dera Sacha Sauda launched its political affairs wing (PAW) in 2007. It was the same year when there were massive protests against Ram Rahim in Punjab after his photographs showed him in dress resembling Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh guru. The PAW was meant to "advise" his followers on which candidate or party to vote for in the elections.
Gurmeet Ram Rahim is said to be boastful of his clout to influence the outcome of the polls in Haryana and Punjab. He claims to have about five crore followers, most of them in Haryana and Punjab.
2014 ELECTIONS AND RAM RAHIM
Ram Rahim had remained a rather unknown political force till 2014 Lok Sabha elections, when the BJP sought support of the Dera Sacha Sauda. Ram Rahim announced his support for the BJP. He was, in turn, praised by the then prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi would again praise Ram Rahim when the latter supported the Clean India campaign and was seen holding broom with Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar.
Ahead of Haryana Assembly elections, the BJP in-charge of the state Kailash Vijayvargiya took as many as 44 candidates to the Dera Sacha Sauda seeking "blessings" of Ram Rahim. Support of Ram Rahim augured well for the BJP in both the Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha elections in Haryana. The BJP formed government in Haryana.
However, Ram Rahim's "blessings" to the BJP did not win it the Delhi Assembly elections in 2015.
RAM RAHIM AND CONGRESS
Ram Rahim has four children - daughters Amanpreet Kaur, Charanpreet Kaur and son Jasmeet Singh. Honeypreet is his adopted daughter.
Jasmeet is married to the daughter of senior Congress leader Harminder Singh Jassi, who is a former Punjab MLA. He lost to Aam Aadmi Party candidate Jagdev Singh in this year's Assembly election from Maur constituency in Bathinda.
In 2007, Ram Rahim had extended support to the Congress as he felt that the Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP government of the time had targeted his followers in the state. But, the Congress lost the elections.
Ram Rahim did not announce support for any political party in 2012. He asked his supporters to vote for some candidates on "merit". Ahead of this year's Punjab election, both the BJP and Congress approached Ram Rahim for support. Ram Rahim supported the BJP in the last Punjab Assembly election. The BJP lost.
BJP MINISTERS DONATING MONEY TO RAM RAHIM
Though, the "blessings" of Ram Rahim has not worked for the BJP since 2014 Haryana Assembly elections, the party leaders have not lost any love for the Dera chief. At least three Haryana ministers have given him Rs 1.12 crore collectively since August last year.
Just 10 days before the verdict was pronounced by the Panchkula CBI court convicting Ram Rahim of raping two sadhvis at his Dera, powerful Haryana minister Ram Vilas Sharma paid visit to Ram Rahim on August 15 - the birthday of Dera chief.
Haryana Education Minister Ram Vilas Sharma donated Rs 51 lakh from his ministry's discretionary quota 'to promote sports' in the Dera. Ram Vilas Sharma was also the guest at the Dera Sacha Sauda on August 15 to celebrate Ram Rahim's birthday.
Exactly a year ago, another influential Haryana minister Anil Vij had donated Rs 50 lakh out of his discretionary quota for "encouraging games" in Dera. "I could not give more than Rs 50 lakh out of discretionary fund. Had it been possible, I would have given more," Anil Vij had been quoted by media then as saying.
Later, Rohtak MLA and Minister of State for Urban Local Bodies in Haryana Manish Grover made a donation of Rs 11 lakh from his discretionary fund to the Dera Sacha Sauda of Ram Rahim.
The fact that Gurmeet Ram Rahim was provided Z-plus security cover long before the BJP came in power at the Centre and Haryana is statement of the political clout of the rape convict Dera chief.
4,208 recommendations for a Padma Award in 2017
Over 4,200 recommendations were received by the home ministry last year for conferring Padma Award to Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. In fact, five of these were self-recommendations made by the Dera chief himself.
Of the 18,768 nominations for Padma Awards 2017, Gurmeet Ram Rahim was the most recommended name. Among the 4,208 applications recommending the honour in the name of `Saint Dr Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh ji Insan', his name, were multiple ones submitted by the same person. A majority of these applications were filed from people based in Sirsa, where the Dera headquarters are located. Of the five recommendations received from the Dera chief himself, three mentioned his address as Sirsa, one as Hisar in Haryana and another as Ganganagar in Rajasthan.
The overwhelming majority of those who recommended Gurmeet Ram Rahim's name for the civilian honour used single names like Abha, Aditya, Akbar, Alfez, Baljinder, Milky , Gajal, Komal, Jony , Jesse and Ishwar. One Amit, based in Sirsa, recommended Gurmeet's name 31 times, and a Sunil nominated him 27 times. A few recommendations were also from his birthplace Ganganagar.
Payback time: official favours bestowed after the arrest
Dy. Advocate Gen carries Mr Insan’s luggage after the ‘guilty’ verdict
Haryana's Deputy Advocate General Gurdass Singh Salwara has been sacked for carrying the luggage of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh…
Policemen on duty with MSG tried to rescue him
Seven Haryana police personnel who were part of the Z+ security provided to Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh were arrested for preventing Panchkula cops from taking him into custody after his conviction.
The arrested policemen, who were deployed in the Dera chief 's security for the last six to seven years, were sent in police remand for seven days.
The accused had tried to whisk away Gurmeet when he was being taken in a Scorpio to a helicopter by a special team of Haryana police on Friday .The accused, who were equipped with a jammer vehicle, also manhandled an IG-level officer who was overseeing arrangements for transporting Singh to Rohtak, sources said.
A case of attempt to murder under the IPC and another one under the Arms Act have been lodged against them at the Panchkula Sector 5 police station. The cases were registered on the complaint of ASI Ramesh Kumar, who was in charge of the team assigned to take Singh into custody .
The seven cops have been identified as head constables Ajay Kumar and Ram Singh and constables Balwan Singh, Krishan Das, Khusbir Singh, Vijay Singh and Fateh Singh.
ASI Ramesh Kumar said in his complaint that the accused travelling in the jammer vehicle overtook the Scorpio carrying Gurmeet to the district inspector's office and forced the police team to stop. “Before we could react, two persons in commando dress approached the SUV from either side and tried to take the Dera head away . As we struggled, one of them said, `Hum pitaji ko nahi le jaane denge. Gaadi back karke in par chada do, inko kuchal kar maar daalo (We shall not allow them to take father. Start the car and crush these cops).' The driver of the jammer vehicle tried to hit us while we were reversing. We got to one side but overpowered them with the help of other cops,“ the complaint read.
Honeypreet Insan allowed to board ‘jail helicopter’
The Haryana government will investigate how Honeypreet Insan, the adopted daughter of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, was allowed to board the chopper that took him out of the Panchkula court complex after his conviction on Friday .
Photographs taken in the court complex show that Honeypreet Insan accompanied the Dera chief to court and also sat beside him in the chopper.This issue came up during the hearing in the Punjab and Haryana high court as well. Some members of the high court bar told the court that special treatment was being extended to the Dera head after his arrest. Bar members said not only was Honeypreet Insan allowed to accompany him, Gurmeet was also kept in a guest house before being shifted to jail.
“We had verified the facts from the authorities con cerned on Friday at 8.30pm about any preferential treatment to the Dera head. However, we were informed that he has been shifted to jail like an ordinary prisoner,“ observed the full bench headed by acting chief justice S S Saron.
Was His Excellency chewing on a cigar or a chocolate?
Ram Rahim was seen sitting in a VIP helicopter chewing on a cigar, or was it a chocolate?
As Baba Ram Rahim was convicted of rape on August 25, tensions broke out in Punjab, Haryana, parts of UP and Delhi. While the supporters of Ram Rahim were busy taking to the streets, the love charger baba himself was being flown to safety in a VIP helicopter.
The woman seen with Ram Rahim in the photograph is Honeypreet Insan, Ram Rahim's daughter. The authorities confirmed that she is Ram Rahim's daughter. The authorities now claim "she is no longer with him" and he is being treated like any other prisoner. Meanwhile, the authorities have not commented on why was Honeypreet Insan allowed to travel with her father after his conviction.
According to rules, no relative is allowed to travel with the prisoner, the relatives can meet the prisoners in the jail premises as per the rules of the jail.
The helicopter Baba Ram Rahim was traveling in, AW139 is meant for VIP and corporate transport. AW139 is a 15-seater Augusta Westland helicopter. A similar copter was also used by Narendra Modi during his 2014 election campaign. The authorities said the helicopter used for transporting Baba Ram Rahim was hired but did not specify from where.
Political clout continues even after Gurmeet’s conviction
Haryana police pressurises Chandigarh police
1Haryana intelligence officer wanted to take convoy of Ram Rahim via Chandigarh to Panchkula.
2Chandigarh police chief outmaneuvred Haryana officer to keep Dera convoy out of Chandigarh.
As soon as the verdict was pronounced by the special CBI court of Panchkula in the 15-year-old rape and sexual exploitation case, the supporters of Ram Rahim went on rampage at Panchkula merely 10 km Chandigarh.
But, surprisingly, Chandigarh remained peaceful.
PRESSURE ON CHANDIGARH POLICE
Local reports suggest that Chandigarh might have witnessed violence of the similar scale as Panchkula but for the smart thinking and quick response from the city police chief, DGP Tajender Singh Luthra. It so happened that Tajender Sing Luthra received a phone call from a senior Haryana intelligence officer. Luthra was in a meeting with Punjab Governor and UT Administrator VP Singh Badnore.
Luthra received a rather unusual request from the Haryana intelligence officer, who wanted to let Chandigarh Police pass a cavalcade of 308 vehicles of Gurmeet Ram Rahim through the city on its way to Panchkula. This was a risky proposition for Chandigarh as the cavalcade had a large number of close aides and supporters of Ram Rahim who conviction was a definite possibility.
Luthra sensed trouble and he turned [down] the request of the Haryana officer.
But, the matter did not end here. The intelligence officer now turned more assertive and insisted on going to Panchkula via Chandigarh. The Haryana officer challenged Luthra to stop the cavalcade from passing through Chandigarh.
HOW LUTHRA FOILED DERA MOVE
Sensing trouble at hand, Chandigarh DGP decided to handle the situation personally rather than asking other police officer to taken on another senior officer.
DGP Luthra headed straight to the first police check-post at the Punjab-Chandigarh border at Zirakpur. Luthra sent for more reinforcement at the check-post.
Receiving information about arrival of the strong cavalcade of Ram Rahim, Luthra sent a pilot vehicle of the Chandigarh police to escort the convoy of Dera chief on the pretext of guiding them to Panchkula through the Union Territory. The Haryana intelligence officer and others in Haryana police thought Luthra buckled under pressure.
But, the Chandigarh DGP, fully knowing his city's roads, made the smart move. The pilot vehicle, as planned by DGP Luthra, took the cavalcade through the wrong side of Zirakpur-Chandigarh section of the highway. The traffic on the wrong side, that is, transport movement from Chandigarh to Zirakpur had already been stopped.
The entire convoy of Ram Rahim took a U-turn trailing the pilot vehicle under the Zirakpur flyover and set on the route to Panchkula without entering Chandigarh. By the time the Haryana intelligence and police officials could understand that they were outmanoeuvred, they were already moved in a different direction.
The security situation was such that the Punjab and Haryana Court criticised the Haryana government saying, "You let a city like Panchkula burn for political gains," adding, "Administrative decisions were paralysed because of political decisions."
The high court asked the Haryana government why it couldn't stop more than 1.5 lakh followers of Ram Rahim from gathering at Panchkula.
MPs insist the ‘saint’ is victim of conspiracy
After Sakshi Maharaj, another BJP MP from Hamirpur-Mahoba constituency in Uttar Pradesh came out in support of Dera Sachcha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.
While taking part in a programme `Bharat Manthan' at a private guest house in Maudaha area of the district, Pushpendra Singh Chandel said that though he did not approve of such type of behaviour from “great saints“ like Ram Rahim and Asaram Bapu, but there was a political conspiracy behind the dera chief 's arrest and then his conviction. “The humiliation of saints, who have lakhs and crores of followers and that too on a complaint of a single person is really painful,“ he said. The charges levelled against Asaram were also false, he added. Chandel has also blamed the social media for tearing apart the dignity of saints.
But Sakshi retracts `saint' remark
Five days after defending Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj took a U-turn on Wednesday and said that the rape convict can't be categorised as a saint. Speaking at an event in a Kankhal ashram in Haridwar, the MP said the Dera chief is not part of the saint community as he has a wife and children and lives with them. He had courted controversy by saying the Dera chief is a noble soul and his conviction is a conspiracy to defame Indian culture. MS Nawaz TNN
On hearing sentence, Baba cries, begs for mercy, refuses to leave
Baba Ram Rahim Singh, who gave spiritual guidance to his followers till few days ago, today begged for mercy from the court but was refused.
1 Baba Ram Rahim refused to leave the court till he was dragged out
2 The court refused to listen to his plea
3 He wanted tea but was refused
Once known for his flamboyant lifestyle and access to the highest corridors of power, controversial godman Gurmeeet Ram Rahim Singh broke down like a child in an open court after he was sentenced to 20 years in jail in two rape cases.
With folded hands, the chief of the Dera Sacha Sauda, who ran multiple ashrams spread across northern states of Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan, begged for mercy like an ordinary citizen before special CBI court judge Jagdeep Singh in Rohtak's Sunaria jail.
At 2:30 PM, the judge reached the court and in the next 20 minutes all the arguments were over. The defence had argued that Ram Rahim Singh is a "social worker" who has worked for the welfare of people and so the court should take a lenient view while pronouncing the sentence.
At 2:55 PM, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh broke down and asked for forgiveness.
At 3:06 PM, the court announced 20 years of sentence and a fine of Rs 30 lakh.
After this began a 10-minute-long drama by the godman.
The 'Love Charger' Baba who claims to have given spiritual guidance to lakhs of followers, folded his hands before the court and begged for mercy.
Claiming to be the "Messenger of God" (MSG), the Baba who even made three films by the same name, was petrified today. "Mujhe maaf kar dijiye," (forgive me) was all he could utter.
The "Guru" who will now be known as Qaidi No. 1997 had to be dragged out of the courtroom as he sat down refusing to leave. He even complained of uneasiness and high blood pressure problems. However, doctors found him to be medically fit and fine.
He was soon given jail costume.
After calming down, the Baba asked for tea. He was denied as the court had already slammed the police for giving VIP treatment to a rape convict.
The proceeding was being held at the Sunaria jail's library, a makeshift court.
Earlier, the judge was specially flown to Rohtak, 70 km from Delhi, today for announcing the sentence at the special court. Ram Rahim was brought and lodged in the jail (Prisoner No. 1997) here after his conviction by the CBI court in Panchkula, adjoining Chandigarh, on Friday.
Allegations, run-ins with the law and society:
Cases against Sirsa sect head, Mr. Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Ji Insaan
I: Sexual exploitation of women followers
According to a report on Dailymail.co.uk, in 2002, Singh and his Dera allegedly came under investigation in connection with the charges of sexual exploitation of women followers of the sect, and the murder of a journalist Ram Chander Chatrapati. The allegations started in May 2002 after an anonymous letter, alleging sexual exploitation, was addressed to the Prime Minister and its copies had been marked to several other bodies.
According to a report on Indiaopines.com, Singh has been in the news for several reasons and was accused of allegedly forcing around 400 men followers to castrate themselves in order to make them his slaves. He was also accused of allegedly murdering his driver Faqir Chand, where a CBI special court apparently cleared him of all charges.
According to a report on Indiaopines.com, he is said to be close to militant Gurjant Singh Rajasthani of the much feared Khalistan Liberation Force. Further to reports, it is said that he enjoys VVIP Status and a Z – level security cover. Singh reportedly drives a Range Rover SUV. In fact, hundreds of vehicles are allegedly said to follow him wherever he goes. In these 100, there are 16 black Ford Endeavours. His entourage is also said to include a number of female followers.
In January 2015, taking cognizance of an application seeking CBI probe into alleged suicides (wh Sirsa-resident Ram Kumar Bishnoi alleged were murders) inside Dera Sacha Sauda , Sirsa, the Punjab and Haryana high court issued a notice to the sect head and Haryana government. (The Times of India)
2002 sex case: Mr Insan claims he's not capable of having sex
A sadhvi had in 2002 written an anonymous letter addressed to the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, accusing Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Insan of sexual abuse.
Controversial godman and Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Insan, who is facing rape and murder charges, has told Panchkula court that he is not mentally and physically fit to have sexual intercourse.
"Dera chief told the court that he was not fit to indulge in physical relationships," S.K. Garg Narwana, counsel for Rahim, told mediapersons.
Rahim, who recorded his statement under section 313 of IPC through video conferencing, on Tuesday contended that the allegations levelled him were false and baseless.
A sadhvi had in 2002 written an anonymous letter addressed to the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, accusing the Dera chief of sexual abuse. The Punjab and Haryana High Court took up the matter and ordered a CBI probe into the incident on September 24, 2002.
Rahim Singh is also facing two murder charges. He is accused of murdering a Sirsa-based journalist Ram Chander Chatrapati who had been writing about the Dera's activities. Chatrapati was shot on October 24, 2001 and died on November 21. He was also accused of allegedly killing sect manager Ranjit Singh in July 2002.
According to CBI counsel HPS Verma, Singh has made more than 100 video conference appearances but not a single physical appearance in court, which is mandatory under Section 313 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
Singh had September 16, 2013 filed a plea in the court contending that he was facing threats from Sikh terrorist groups. The Panchkula police, in a separate plea, had said that the gathering of his followers could create a law and order problem and that he should be exempted from personal appearances.
Gist of the 2002 letter to PM
Bhagwan Krishan ke yahan 360 gopian thee jinse vo prem leela karte the. Phir bhi log unhe bhagwan mante hain, ye koi nai baat nahi (Lord Krishna had 360 gopis he loved. Yet people worship him as God, it's not a new thing).“ Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh had reportedly told this to one of his disciples when she objected to his sexual advances, reports Ajay Sura. This incident was mentioned in an anonymous letter written by her in 2002 to then PM A B Vajpayee and Punjab and Haryana HC chief justice. The letter eventually led to a CBI probe into sexual exploitation and rape allegations against the preacher. As per the letter, when the `sadhvi' had objected , Gurmeet said, “There is no doubt that I am God.“ The disciple said thereafter she was raped by the dera head repeatedly over the next three years, and that a large number of sadhvis who were sexually exploited were between 35 and 40 years.
Full text (English translation)
Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim has been boastful of his political connections and absolute power. He used to tell his followers that he was the most powerful and equal to God.
Ram Rahim unleashed a reign of terror at the Dera Sacha Sauda. But, a letter, written anonymously by a sadhvi , brought the Dera empire of Gurmeet Ram Rahim down.
Here is the full text of the letter under whose [weight] the mighty godman of Dera Sacha Sauda crumbled and lost his empire:
- Honourable Prime Minister
- Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee (Government of India)
- Subject: Request for probe into rape of hundreds of girls by Dera chief (Ram Rahim)
- I am a girl hailing from Punjab and I have been serving as a sadhvi at Dera Sacha Sauda, Sirsa (Haryana) for the last five years. There are hundreds of other girls, who serve for 16-18 hours a day at the Dera. We are being physically exploited here. Dera Maharaj Gurmeet Singh rapes girls at the Dera. I am a graduate girl. My family members are blind followers of Maharaj (Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh). I became a sadhvi at my family's bidding.
- Two years after I became a sadhvi, Maharaj Gurmeet Singh's close woman-disciple Gurjot told me one night around 10 pm that I had been summoned to 'Gufa' (residence of Gurmeet Ram Rahim). As I was going there for the first time, I was elated that God himself had sent out for me. When I went upstairs, I saw Maharaj sitting on the bed holding a remote control in hand and watching a blue film on TV. Beside his pillow on the bed, lay a revolver. Seeing all this, I was stunned, felt dizziness, and felt as if the earth has moved from beneath my feet. I wondered what at all was happening here.
- I had never imagined that Maharaj would be such a person. Maharaj switched off the TV and seated me beside him. He offered me water and said that he had called me because he considered me very dear to him. This was my first day (experience).
- Maharaj took me in his arms and said that he loved me from the core of his heart. He also said that he wanted to make love with me. 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. By this logic, your body is mine now.
- When I objected he said, "There is no doubt that I am God." When I asked if God also indulges in such acts, he shot back:
- 1. Sri Krishna too was God and he had 360 gopis (milkmaids) with whom he staged Prem Lila (love drama). Even then people regarded him as God. This is not a new thing.
- 2. I can kill you with this revolver and cremate you here. The members of your family are my devoted followers and they have such blind faith in me that they are my slaves. You know it very well that your family members cannot go against me.
- 3. I have considerable influence in the governments. The chief ministers of Punjab and Haryana, and central Ministers touch my feet. Politicians seek my support and take money from me. They cannot take any action against me. We will get your family members dismissed from government jobs. I will get them killed and wouldn't leave any evidence behind. You know it very well that I had got Dera manager Fakir Chand killed earlier. No one knows anything about him till date. Neither there is any evidence of the murder. By money power, I can buy politicians, police and justice.
- Thus, he raped me. For the past three months, my turn comes every 25-30 days. Now, I realise that he has been raping other girls staying with him.
- Around 35-40 women living at the Dera are over 35-40 years old and past the marriageable age. They have compromised with their lives at the Dera. Most of the girls are educated and have secured BA, MA, BEd degrees. But they are living a life of hell at the Dera because their family members are fanatic followers. We wear white clothes, cover heads with scarf, forbidden to look at men and keep a distance of 5-10 feet from men as per Maharaj's commands.
- We appear like devis (pious women), but our situation is that of prostitutes. I tried once to tell my family members that all was not well at the Dera. But, they got angry with me saying that if God's company is not worth enjoying then which place would be. It seems your mind has become corrupt, recite the name of satguru (the real teacher), they told me. I am helpless. I have to obey every command of the Maharaj.
- No girl is permitted to talk to another. As per the commands of the Maharaj, girls are not permitted to talk to their families even over telephone. If a girl talks about the reality of the Dera, she is punished under the commands of the Maharaj. Just a few days ago, a Bathinda girl spoke about the wrongdoings of the Maharaj, she was thrashed by women-disciples. She is still bed-ridden at her home due to this assault. Her father has left his service as a sevadar (servant of Dera). She is not telling anyone anything for the fear of Maharaj.
- Similarly, a girl from Kurukshetra district has also left the Dera and went back home. When she narrated her sufferings at the Dera to her family, her brother who worked as a sevadar, gave up his job. When a Sangrur girl left the Dera, went home and narrated the wrongdoings at the Dera to the people, the Dera's armed sewadar hooligans visited the girl's home and threatened to kill her. They warned her not to tell anyone anything about the Dera.
- Similarly, girls from Mansa, Ferozepur, Patiala and Ludhiana districts (of Punjab) have gone back home and are keeping mum as they have threat to their lives. Same is the fate of girls from Sirsa, Hissar, Fatehabad, Hanumangarh and Meerut who are not uttering a word due to muscle power of the Dera goondas.
- If I reveal my name (and) my address, my family and I will be killed. I can't keep quiet and I also don't want to die, but I want to expose the reality (of Dera). If a probe is conducted by the press or some government agency, 40 to 45 girls - living in utmost fear at the Dera -, if they are convinced, are willing to tell the truth.
- Our medical examination should be conducted so that our guardians and the people would know whether we are still celibate disciples or not. If we are no longer virgins, it should be probed as to who violated our chastity. The truth will then come out that Maharaj Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh of Sacha Sauda has ruined our lives.
Highlights of the rape case
A special CBI court on Friday found Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh guilty of rape. He was immediately taken into judicial custody.
- The rape allegations against Gurmeet Ram Rahim date back to 2002, when a Dera sadhvi wrote an anonymous letter to then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee saying she was raped by the Dera chief.
- In the letter, the sadhvi also accused Gurmeet Ram Rahim of raping several other female followers inside the sprawling Dera campus on the outskirts of Sirsa in the state of Haryana.
- The Punjab and Haryana high court took suo motu - of its own accord - cognizance of the sadhvi's letter and directed the CBI to register a sexual exploitation case against the Dera chief in 2002. The CBI then registered a case against Gurmeet Ram Rahim, based on the sadhvi's letter.
- The investigating agency questioned 18 sadhvis and two of them levelled allegations of rape against the spiritual leader. One sadhvi said that her rape was "justified" on the grounds that it would "purify" her.
- Both sadhvis who said they were raped recorded their statements before the court and reiterated that they were raped. Their statements are part of the CBI chargesheet which was filed on July 30, 2007 in the special CBI court.
- One of the sadhvis said in her statement that when she entered the Dera chief's sprawling chamber, the doors automatically closed and she found him watching a pornographic movie on a big screen. The CBI is said to be banking heavily on this statement as only a select few have access to that chamber.
- The trial against Gurmeet Ram Rahim commenced in 2008 and on September 6, 2008, he was charged under Section 376 (rape) and Section 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code.
- The Dera chief has consistently called the charges false and baseless and has told the court that he is "not capable of" engaging in physical relations.
- Gurmeet Ram Rahim is also facing trial in two separate murder cases - those of Dera follower Ranjit Singh in July 2002 and of journalist Ram Chander Chattrapati in October that same year.
- Ranjit's family members claimed he was killed for having circulated the sadhvi's anonymous letters. Chattrapati had reported extensively on illegal activities going on within the Dera.
Sleuths Dithered, Witnesses Cowered
`Sleuths Dithered, Witnesses Cowered'
The conviction of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was not an easy task as the political clout enjoyed by the selfstyled godman made marshalling evidence against him a major challenge for the CBI.
It was a probe no one wanted to pursue and witnesses and victims were either killed, went missing or retracted their statements out of fear for their life, said retired police officer M Narayanan, who led the CBI probe into the rape and murder cases.
“For five years, between 2002 and 2007, despite a high court order, nobody did anything because of his political clout. The CBI investigation against him didn't move much. We then decided we have to collect evidence against him, record statements of victims in rape and murder cases, but it was very difficult,“ he told TOI.
Going by the timeframe, the state was ruled by an Indian National Lok Dal (INLD)led government and then Congress between 2002 and 2007 when the probe against the dera chief was stalled.
“Initially, around 10 sadhvis who had left the Dera and could give statements were listed by us. But only two of them showed the courage and recorded statements under Section 164 CrPC before a ma gistrate,“ Narayanan said.
A former deputy inspector general, Narayanan, who retired from the CBI in 2009 as a joint director, said the agency didn't act against the Baba initially , leading to an internal enquiry in 2007 against officers who scuttled the probe. The findings were not made public as the agency filed a chargesheet against Ram Rahim the same year. Narayanan, who joined the CBI as a sub-inspector and retired as joint director, asserted that Ram Rahim was almost “untouchable“. His massive following, which tilted elections, allowed him to attain a larger than life image in Haryana and Punjab.
A former CBI director, who did not want to be quoted, said, “All governments at that time tried everything to save this criminal, selfstyled godman. Because of his vote bank, our political system had become helpless and rule of law was mocked year after year.“
Narayanan said while the CBI was probing these cases, many powerful politicians and businesspersons walked into its headquarters and put pressure to close the case.
The statements in 2007 didn't come without drama and pressure. Narayanan said it was tough to convince the two sadhvis, who had left the dera long ago and were married, to record statements.
“We told them that not hing will happen to them and even wrote to the state police to provide them security . One of the rape victims, whose testimony helped in Ram Rahim's conviction on Friday, was under tremendous pressure from several dera followers. On one particular night, she was surrounded by several Dera followers and it wasn't easy for enforcement agencies to get to her.We sneaked into the place at night and got her removed from there. She stood her ground and gave a detailed testimony against Ram Rahim,“ Narayanan said.
One of the sadhvis later retracted her statement.
When the CBI decided to question Ram Rahim at his Sirsa compound in 2007, officers were initially not allowed inside. “It was like a fortress. Everybody was allowed to go inside after proper checks and guards roamed everywhere. But we managed to question the dera chief during which he denied all allegations,“ Narayanan said.
A day before the verdict in the rape case against Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, the CBI on Thursday claimed that the witnesses and its officials linked to the case were facing threats.A statement in this regard was made by CBI counsel Sumit Goel before the Punjab and Haryana HC on Thursday during the hearing of a petition on law and order situation ahead of the verdict. Goel said, “The witnesses in the case, the Investigating officer of the CBI and the public prosecutor in the trial of the case and in the high court face threats.“
II: Murder allegations
2002: Two murders are alleged
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) special court, Haryana, dismissed five applications of the accused and listed Ranjit Singh and Ram Chander Chhatrapati murder cases for final arguments. Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh is also an accused.
Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh is one of the accused in murder cases of Ranjit Singh, a dera follower, and journalist Ram Chander Chhatrapati.
“These applications were intentionally filed at the fag end of the trial to delay the pronouncement of orders. Similarly, in the rape case against dera chief, they have approached a higher court and are seeking adjournments to delay the order. Thirteen years have passed since the crimes took place. Now, the cases are in the final leg,” said CBI counsel HPS Verma said.
There was an application from dera chief for postponing the Ranjit Singh murder case, saying high court had listed a connected petition for March 18, 2016 but it was dismissed.
Similar applications were also filed by Krishan Lal, former dera manager, who is an accused in both the cases, which were also dismissed. Also, he filed applications for getting examined three doctors as he wanted to prove that he was tortured in custody in 2005. These applications were dismissed.
Dera member Ranjit Singh’s murder took place on July 10, 2002.
The CBI has been alleging that Ram Rahim suspected him to be behind circulation of an anonymous letter of a female Dera follower, levelling allegations of sexual exploitation against him, which led to the murder.
Ranjit Singh was shot in the head in Kurukshetra. Along with Dera chief, Krishan Lal, Jasbir, Indersen, Avtaar, and Sabdil are accused in the case.
Journalist Ram Chander Chhatrapati was shot at on October 23, 2002. Along with Dera chief, Krishan Lal, Nirmal Singh and Kuldeep are co-accused in the case. The CBI alleges that he was murdered for publishing news about ‘illegal’ activities inside Dera Sacha Sauda .
Dera chief is also facing a rape case in the Punjab and Haryana high court.
Journalist who exposed Gurmeet was shot dead outside his house
The journalist who exposed the Gurmeet Ram Rahim rape case was shot dead right outside his house [in 2002]. The murder case is being heard by the same CBI court which will pronounce verdict in Dera chief rape case.
Journalist Ram Chander Chhatrapati, who ran a local daily Poora Sacch, was the journalist who exposed the rapes of two women at Dera headquarters in Sirsa [in 2002].
Months after Chhatrapati published an anonymous letter giving details about how women were sexually harassed by Gurmeet Ram Rahim at Sirsa ashram, he was shot from point-blank range right outside his house on October 24, 2002.
Chhatrapati's son Anshul has been battling a lonely battle to get justice for his father. So far he has been unlucky.
THE ANONYMOUS LETTER
The three-page anonymous letter in Hindi published by Chhatrapati in his newspaper was addressed to then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and heads of several other institutions including the Chief Juctice of Punjab and Haryana High Court.
The Punjab and Haryana High Court took note of the letter and directed the then district and sessions judge in Sirsa to order a probe into the matter.
The judge then recommended probe by a central agency following which the high court asked the CBI to look into the matter.
The Chandigarh unit of CBI registered a case on December 12, 2002, under Section 376 (rape), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 509 (insult to the modesty of woman) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and launched an investigation.
2019: Dera chief, 3 others held guilty of killing journalist
Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh and three others accused in the 2002 murder case of Sirsa-based journalist Ram Chander Chhatarpati, editor of ‘Poora Sach’ newspaper, were convicted on Friday by special CBI judge Jagdeep Singh.
The other accused convicted are Dera manager Krishan Lal and two Dera carpenters, Kuldeep Singh and Nirmal Singh, who executed the murder. The court will pronounce the quantum of sentence on January 17.
The same judge had, in August 2017, convicted the 51-year-old Dera chief, who is serving a 20-year prison term in Rohtak’s Sunaria jail for rape of two women disciples.
Gurmeet appeared via video conferencing from the jail for the Friday hearing. The other three accused were present in court.
CBI counsel HPS Verma said Kuldeep Singh and Nirmal Singh were convicted under Section 302 (punishment for murder) of IPC read with Section 120B (criminal conspiracy) of IPC, while Dera chief and Krishan Lal were convicted under Section 120 B (criminal conspiracy) read with Section 302 (punishment for murder) of IPC.
Nirmal Singh was also convicted under Section 25 of the Arms Act, 1959. Similarly, Krishan Lal was convicted under Section 29 of the Arms Act, 1959. According to the CBI charge sheet, Dera manager Krishan Lal had given his licenced revolver and a walkie-talkie to Kuldeep and Nirmal, in the presence of the Dera chief, to eliminate Chhatarpati. They shot Chh-atarpati on October 24, 2002 and he died three weeks later.
III: Sacrilege is alleged
Oct 2015: Sacrilege cases blamed on Dera Sacha Sauda
The Times of India, Oct 23 2015
What triggered the Oct 2015 unrest in Punjab?
Sikh holy book, the Guru Granth Sahib, was stolen from a gurdwara at BurjJawaharKe village in Faridkot on June 1. In the third week of September, provocative posters against Sikhs appeared in Bargari village nearby . On October 12 morning, several torn pages of the book were found scattered in Bargari.That evening Sikhs started protesting at Kotkapura town, around 15 km from Bargari, demanding that those behind the desecrations be arrested. While Sikhs insist that the torn pages belong to the stolen book, the police is yet to confirm this.
On June 14, in a village near Kotkapura, called Behbal Kalan, police canecharged protesters blocking a link road. In the clash, police opened fire killing two protesters, both Sikhs, and injuring several others. From October 15, protests spread across the state with roadblocks being set up at numerous roads and highways. On October 20, there were more than 160 roadblocks in the state. Till Wednesday , the number had dropped to around 60. This is the first time in more than three decades that a sacrilege incident has led to state-wide protests.
How many cases of desecration of Guru Granth Sahib have been reported so far [till Oct 2015]?
After protests in Bargari village, six more incidents of desecration were reported from Sangrur, Ferozepur, Amritsar (rural), Taran, Ludhiana and Bathinda districts. So far, seven people have been arrested in five cases. Two cases are yet to be detected. Sikh or ganizations have blamed followers of the Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda of being behind the desecrations and feel that dera followers were emboldened after their chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim was pardoned by the Akal Takht, for his alleged blasphemy in 2007. Both the police and the dera have steadfastly denied any involvement in fomenting trouble.
Why did preacher Gurmeet Ram Ra him upset Sikhs?
In May 2007, the dera chief allegedly imitated tenth Sikh mas ter Guru Gobind Singh during an initiation ceremony at Salabatpura (Bathin da). Akal Takht ordered him to appear before it and apologize. An unsigned apology addressed to Guru Gobind Singh sent by Dera chief did not cut ice with clergy and a directive was issued to Sikhs to snap all ties with him and his followers. Punjab police also booked the preacher for f hurting religious sentiments. But in February 2012 just before Punjab assembly polls, the police filed closure report in court. The dera chief had openly directed his followers to vote for Congress in February 2007 assembly elections. Though SAD formed the government, Congress won a majority of the seats in south ern Punjab where there are maximum dera followers.
Why was he pardoned?
In an unexpected move on September 24, the Sikh clergy announced they had par donedGurmeet Ram Rahim on the basis of a clarification he sent. This was criticized by a wide section of Sikhs. Although Akali Dal leaders insist they had no part in the pardon, the popular perception is that it was directed by Akali Dal bosses to get deraollowers on their side ahead of the 2017 assembly elections. Akali Dal controls Shiromani GurdwaraParbandhak Committee (SGPC) which appoints the high persists.
Why was the pardon revoked?
After strong opposition from the Sikh community , including the influential Punjabi diaspora, the pardon was revoked on October 16. The revocation is unprecedented in Sikh history .
How does SGPC work and what is Akal Takht's role?
SGPC is a statutory body and its members are elected by Sikhs from Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh and Himachal Pradesh. The body manages historic gurdwaras. Also called mini parliament of Sikhs, its role has expanded beyond simple gurdwara management. Akal Takht is the supreme temporal seat of Sikhs
A pre-planned havoc is wreaked after the 2017 rape verdict
See Dera Sacha Sauda> 'Violence, 2017: pre-planned havoc before and after verdict against Ram Rahim'
The Messenger of God series of films
The actor, director: as in 2015
According to his official website, he is referred to as His Excellency, Hazoor Maharaj Saint Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Ji Insan. He was born in Rajasthan to Sardar Maghar Singh Ji and Naseeb Kaur Ji Insan. Though he was born in a Sikh family, he does not adhere to any particular religion. He is the head of the India-based socio-spiritual organisation Dera Sacha Sauda since September 23, 1990 and has 50 million supporters from the Dera Sacha Sauda sect (as reported on Business2community.com). He has adopted the glorious method of meditation from Param Pita Shah Satnam Ji Maharaj.
Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Insan has a long list of talents to his credit that range from from music to engineering, from sports to agriculture, from spiritualism to science. He is also said to play a wide range of sports that include volleyball, netball, throwball, kabaddi, lawn tennis, cricket, football, billiards, table tennis, snooker, shooting ball, yoga, basketball, water polo among others. (As reported on his official website)
This Rockstar Baba, who wanted to make his Filmistan debut in Jan 2015, has many other talents apart from acting? His official website states that he is a fashion designer, a magazine designer, automobile designer, interior and exterior decorator and landscape designer and a cook who has created a wide range of recipes.
As a head of the Dera sect, he enjoys immense popularity and is known for his many initiatives including his drive to eradicate forced prostitution from society and rescue them from high risk groups. Reportedly, he also treats them as his spiritual foster daughters and arranges for their treatment from HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections. His official website states that on Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh's call, 1500 young men volunteered to marry these women and many of these marriages have actually taken place.
He is an avid peace lover and volunteer and is said to encourage his followers to free birds and release snakes into the jungle that are found in his ashram. According to his official website, Guruji (as he is also lovingly called), is said to be an anti-discrimination leader, educationist, anti-population crusader, de-addiction specialist, low cost housing expert, among other key titles. He has also made it to the Guinness Book of world records and holds a total of 16 titles. These include, Guinness World Record for Largest Vegetable Mosaic, Guinness World Record in the Largest Finger Painting, Guinness World Record in Most People Sanitizing Their Hands, and Guinness World Record for Largest Human Droplet.
For his film MSG: The Messenger of God, he has written, composed and performed his own music, that is often described as religious rock. His song 'Love charger' from the album Highway Love Charger has had 1 million views online and is said to have sold almost thirty lakh copies in three days. As per a report on IMDB, Singh's debut film took only 67 days to complete shooting and the trailer has received over 2.2 million views till date.
MSG (Pt.1) censorship controversy
The Messenger of God or MSG is a Hindi-Urdu feature film starring and co-directed by His Excellency Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Ji Insan. It was due to hit Indian screens on January 16, 2015 amidst reports that its screening may evoke protests from some quarters. Its release was postponed amidst controversy and low level violence.
MSG: The Messenger of God has been co-directed by Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Insan and Jeetu Arora Insaan, wherein Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh plays the lead role. (Insan means 'human' and many members of the cult use it as surnames, to distance themsleves from caste- and religion-based surnames.
(The theatrical trailer of the film begins with His Excellency Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Ji Insan saying: 'Some say [that I am a] sant [saint], some say [that I am an] angel. Some [call me] guru and others God. But we are [royal we] only an [long pause] Insan [human].')
Law and order concerns
There were three clashes between members of Sikh outfits and dera followers in Moga district in the week before the film’s scheduled release
In Baghapurana town of Moga district there was Tension after four flex boards and posters of movie 'Messenger of God (MSG)' were torn. Dera followers protested outside Baghapurana police station, demanding action against persons responsible for the mischief.
Five persons sustained injuries in Moga, when dera followers and members of Sikh organizations indulged in stone-pelting.
Dera followers exchanged fire at Thathi Bhai village where tension escalated after a poster of the movie was burnt. Devotees of the dera accused members of Sikh organizations of burning the movie poster.
As a result security was beefed up at the dera branches.
The Home Ministry had been watching the situation as there were inputs related to possible tense situations arising as certain Sikh organisations have been opposing the movie. The Home Ministry had sent an advisory to states that ‘Messenger of God’ a few days before the film was to be released.
“Various Sikh organisations and individuals are opposing the movie on the ground that its release would disturb the communal harmony and law and order. They also opine that glorification of DSS chief, facing serious criminal cases, should not be allowed,” the advisory said.
Certification by the censors
Five days before the film’s scheduled release, a review committee of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) unanimously decided to refer the decision related to the clearance of the film to the Film Certification Apellate Tribunal (FCAT). CBFC chairperson Leela Samson told PTI as much.
According to reports, the CBFC's revising committee refused a certificate to the film saying it promotes blind faith and superstition.
Amidst reports that the film had been cleared by Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT), Censor Board chief Leela Samson submitted her resignation. She was reported to have said, ‘It is a mockery of Central Board of Film Certification.’
MSG part 1: its release, revews and box-office performance
MSG was fnally cleared by the censor board and was released on 13th February, 2015, on a staggering 3000 screens. The only competition it had that week was from Roy, a box office dud starring Ranbir Kapoor and Jacqueline Fernandez, which was rescued from oblivion only by its hit songs. World cup cricket was the bigger rival for audience eyeballs.
Just before the film’s release KoiMoi.com reported, ‘ MSG – The Messenger’s Advance Booking Report Is Surprisingly Fantastic.’
KoiMoi.com’s review was not half as kind. It gave MSG: The Messenger 0/5 Stars and read, ‘What’s Good: The unintentional humour that reeks through every scene is the only thing that’ll keep you pinned to your seats, if anything. These hilarious moments which will occur time and again during the more-than-3-hour-long tirade will make your jaws drop in astonishment. The movie needed a big help from its visual effects team, and they have done their best to bring it to a watchable level. What’s Bad: It wasn’t enough that the makers went ahead and decided to shoot the film with a script that can be described in a few lines. No, they had to garnish it with extremely lousy action sequences, some really bad acting and an awful lot of propaganda meant for nothing but the glorification of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. That’s not all; as if he wasn’t satisfied with that, he went ahead and took the costume department under his command as well, and came up with some disturbingly tacky costumes for himself.’
However, within six days of the film’s release reports in the mainstream press started pouring in, declaring ‘MSG’ a sleeper hit.
IB Times reported in Feb 2015, ‘According to Indian Express, the film raked in ₹89 crore in six days. Also, a press release has been doing the rounds, which claims that the film has crossed ₹100 crore mark in India.
‘The screen count of the film also managed to stun everyone. Akshay Kumar's "Baby" and Ranbir Kapoor's "Roy", which were among the anticipated films of 2015, were released in less than 2500 screens.
‘However, BollywoodLife.com reports that the numbers are fake and the film hasn't got good response... The scenario is so bad that Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh eventually bought bulk tickets of his own movie," BollywoodLife.com sources said.
‘Also, trade website Bollywood Hungama has revealed the first week figure of the film, which stands at just ₹9.92 crore.
‘"With an average occupancy of about 50 per cent, MSG has also not done well," Manoj Desai of G7 Cinemas in Mumbai said.’
The film did so badly at the box office that KoiMoi.com did not bother to include it in its long list of the average (and above) performers of the year.
That did not deter His Excellency and his supporters from declaring the film a success: indeed, successful enough to merit a sequel within seven months of the release of Part 1.
Even The Times of India, which had ridiculed the film’s false and wildly inflated box office figures in February, seemed to agree with His Excellency in September. It began its story about the premiere of ‘MSG- 2’ thus, ‘After the success of MSG-1, Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim directed its sequel.’ (Emphasis added.)
Be that as it may, His Excellency is an absolute rockstar for his supporters, who created world records at the film’s open-air premiere, records that are unlikely to be bettered for decades.
MSG 2’s Sept ’15 premiere sets world record
Chetna Choudhry, The Times of India Sep 17, 2015 Over 1 lakh pour into Gurgaon for MSG-2
GURGAON: The premiere of Gurmeet Ram Rahim's sequel to 'MSG', in Gurgaon in Sept 2015 will stake a claim in the record books for the sheer size of the audience at the special screening at Leisure Valley Park.
Even the most conservative estimate of 1 lakh people, given by the police chief, bettered the Guinness record for the highest turnout at a movie screening by about four times. That record stands at 28,442 people, who watched 'Honor Flight' in 2012 in Wisconsin, US. As over 10,000 vehicles, including more than 300 buses, started arriving in the city since the morning, all major junctions reported heavy traffic.
Anticipating the turnout, Gurmeet Ram Rahim matched his sartorial theme with that of the movie — purple kurta and flared golden pajamas, with a ready song on his lips. But rain intervened to spoil his parade. The skies opened up around 9pm, disrupting the screening that had just reached 'interval' and, before long, it was pack-up time as no one wanted to take a chance with the elements or the crowd. If the record keepers choose to be fastidious and see this as a technically incomplete screening, a record might still be out of reach.
For the thousands of fans who had gathered to watch 'MSG-2 The Messenger', the disrupted screening brought back memories of the premiere of the previous 'MSG' movie at the same venue, which was called off at the eleventh hour due to lack of permissions.
This time, permissions had been taken care of The police had issued a traffic advisory a day in advance. Police had also asked the organizers to take people to the venue between 1pm and 4pm to avoid rush hour.
Twelve large LED screens were set up for the movie and two tents, one spread over eight acres a VIP enclosure over two acres, were packed with followers. The screening was scheduled for 6pm but began only at 8pm.
Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Ji Insan <>