- Gurmeet Ram Rahim was sentenced to 20 years in jail on Monday, but what took the case 15 years is the question that needs consideration
- He’s not the only self-styled godman to have been involved in sexual assault controversies
- One of the most controversial ‘guru’ to make it to the list is Asaram
New Delhi, August 29, 2017: Self-proclaimed godman Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, now known as Khaidi no. 1997, was sentenced to 20 years in jail in a rape case, on Monday. The Dera Sacha Sauda chief has been convicted of raping two women followers in a case that dates back to 2002.
It was in 2002 that a rape survivor, who was also a Sadhvi anonymously wrote a letter that, eventually, led to the downfall of the empire of Gurmeet Ram Rahim. The letter was addressed to then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and described how the sect chief sexually exploited several women. It was later in 2003 that the Punjab and Haryana High Court ordered CBI probe into the rape and sexual exploitation of the Sadhvis by the so called “Guru.”
The long wait for justice finally ended on Monday, but the question that arises is: What kept the case pending for 15 years? Was it the power and political connections of Ram Rahim? Could he be a major contributor to the vote banks be the reason for the unconscionable delay? To find the solution to this riddle is a tough job, and keeping in mind how our system works, might take another 15 years, but why was the justice delayed is a question that certainly deserves an answer.
— Naina 🇮🇳 (@NaIna0806) August 28, 2017
— Kiran Kumar S (@KiranKS) August 28, 2017
#RamRahimSentencing well it's just in one case. I want the other cases ruling asap. It should be cumulative.
— Ash (@DFancyWriter) August 28, 2017
One amongst myriads of the reason for the delay in justice was the horror of being threatened by Dera Chief and the co-conspirator. Many victims preferred to keep close mouthed than exposing the wrong doings at the Dera. Often those who opposed the Dera Chief were either murdered or menaced for doing so.
Not to forget the infamous murder of Ram Chandra Chhatrapati, the courageous journalist who exposed the debauched Ram Rahim. His son Anshul Chhatrapati has been fighting for justice for past 15 years, however, the case is still unresolved in the same CBI court which sentenced Dera chief 20 years of jail. Anshul called the sentence, the first tribute to his dead father.
He was merely 21 years old when his father was shot dead on October 24. Helpless Anshul wandered here and there to save his father who battled death for 28 days in the hospital. Policemen refused to lodge FIR against Dera chief back then, recalls Anshul while speaking to wionews.
Anshul also explained what kept justice for more than a decade:
“The CBI investigation was perpetually being thwarted by Congress and other local political parties. I give all the credit of bringing this case to justice to the CBI investigating officer who, against all odds and pressure from various political parties, did his work diligently. It is because of his work that today we have been able to seek justice”
When CBI probed into the matter back then, 17 sadhvis showed up but only two of them agreed to present in the court.
The official system of government should work upon instilling the confidence amongst the sufferers of torment the Dera Chief inflicted upon them. Many people have come forward to confront their plight openly, however, there are also many of them who live in constant suspicion and fear.
The fact that he’s not the only self styled godman to add to the list of those who have been involved in sexual assault controversies is not pleasing to know. According to The Indian Express report, a woman in Kerala chopped off the genitals of one of the ‘godman’ to defend herself from sexual assault. The minor attacker claimed that the attacker, who goes by the name of Ganga Shashwatapada Swamy, had repeatedly been raping her since past few years.
Slow wheels of justice system ruins lives, businesses etc. Needs a hard look and a fix ASAP. Justice delayed is criminal in itself IMO
— Yusuf Unjhawala 🇮🇳 (@YusufDFI) August 25, 2017
One of the most controversial ‘guru’ that makes it to the list is Asaram. About the complaint that lodged on August 20, 2013, Asaram on the pretext of giving the 16-year-old girl his blessings, raped her at his ashram in Jodhpur. After his arrest and the girl and her family’s willingness to speak out against Asaram, many more victims started to come out, reporting similar incidents against him. According to the reports, Asaram allegedly assaulted many victims, including both the ‘sevikas’ and minors from his ashram. The case is pending with the Supreme Court.
Asaram’s son, Narayan Sai has also been accused of rape and sexual assault. He’s currently in jail for the rape of a woman at one of Asaram’s ashrams.
Salute the judiciary for standing up for what is right. Wish justice is not delayed and hope is not lost for any victim of rape & abuse.
— Kailash Satyarthi (@k_satyarthi) August 25, 2017
The judgment against Ram Rahim, however, has given the people hope that Justice could be delayed, but would not be denied.
– by Samiksha Goel and Naina Mishra of NewsGram