New Delhi: A day after self styled Godman and chief of the Dera Sacha Sauda clan Gurmeet Ram Rahim was convicted in a rape case by a court in Panchkula, Haryana, dark tales about him and the organisation he heads are slowly surfacing.
According to a rape victim, ‘pardon’ was the code-word for rapes inside the Dera campus.
Speaking to The Times Of India, the survivor said that rape was a common thing inside the campus and was commonly referred to as ‘Pitaji ki Maafi’ (literally translates to father’s pardon).
The survivor, who hails from Yamunanagar, Haryana, deposed before special CBI judge A K Verma on February 28, 2009, a decade after she was raped by Gurmeet.
She also said that most girls chose to stay with the organisation after being enamoured by Ram Rahim’s larger-than-life stature.
However, some of them were forced to stay due to family pressure.
Meanwhile, at least 30 people have died so far in Haryana following the conviction of the Dera chief.
As clashes erupted, several public properties were vandalised by Dera supporters, resulting in the injuries of at least 200 people.
Cars and railway stations were also set alight, forcing the cancellations of several trains.
Clashes have also erupted in the neighbouring state of Punjab and in some places in Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
The Dera Sacha Sauda claims to have over 50 million followers globally.
It hails itself as a pro-human organisation, with most number of followers from the backward caste.
Gurmeet Ram Rahim was just 23 years old when he took over as the chief of the order.
He however is no stranger to controversy.
He has been accused of rape, murder and forcing some 400 men to undergo castration ‘in order to have a closer connection with God’.
Even though Ram Rahim directs his followers to lead a simple life, his flashy nature and over-the-top public appearance speaks otherwise.
The Godman has also been accused of asking gaymen to sign contract and ‘give up homosexuality’.
He has also mocked Sikh and Hindu deities and invoked ire from both the religions.
In 2007 Gurmeet Ram Rahim appeared in an advert dressed like Guru Gobind Singh, a revered Sikh Guru.
In 2015, Hindu organisations cried foul after the Dera chief was found in a video posing as Hindu God Vishnu.
The Godman has also dabbled in films, self producing and starring in three ungainly, hagiographic movies.
–India Blooms News Service