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Criminal Babas in India- Rapist Ram Rahim and Rapist Asaram : Why Delay in Justice of these Godmen ?

What kept the case pending for 15 years? Was it the power and political connections of Ram Rahim?

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Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh
Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh convicted of rape. Wikimedia
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  • 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.

 

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.

Also read: Quick View on Dera Chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Case: 20 Years of Imprisonment enough for a Rapist in India?

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.

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


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Cryptic And Unparalleled Influence Of Religious Babas In India

A fine line has to be drawn for such religious Babas in India. Although it is hard to change the people’s mindset about their faith and religion to which they have bound themselves. And hence, the ‘Baba Culture’ goes on.

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The religious babas in India are said to alleviate the sufferings of people and worked for the betterment of society.
The religious babas in India are said to alleviate the sufferings of people and worked for the betterment of society. Wikimedia Commons
  • Today, numerous godmen can be found across the length and breadth of India
  • On the bright side, these religious babas propagate the message of oneness and peace
  • As long as ignorance and superstition continue to exist in India, the trade of these fake babas will continue to flourish

Indian mythology, as well as history, list numerous instances where noble souls have guided people on the path of religiousness. Saints such as Kabir, Guru Nanak and others gave a meaning to the lives of people through their teachings. The religious babas in India are said to alleviate the sufferings of people and worked for the betterment of society.

Today, numerous godmen can be found across the length and breadth of India. But just a few of them have any desire to serve humanity. These godmen live in glamorous ashrams, have influential political connections and millions of followers who pay thousands of rupees just to hear their Godmen sermons. But underneath all this talk of spirituality lies a sinister world where dirty dealings, rapes, land grabbing, murders and other such nefarious activities reign take place. Yet, for their blind followers, these Godmen are saintly figures who can do no wrong.

Not to forget, last year only, the whole of Punjab and Haryana and Punjab was on fire when the head of ‘Dera Sacha Sauda,’ Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was found guilty by the court on the charges of rape by his own followers only. Just as the verdict came out his followers went on a rampage in Haryana and some parts of Delhi.

Also Read: Indian Gurus: Preaching Spiritualism or Business?

On the bright side, these religious babas propagate the message of oneness and peace. Many of them have helped open schools and hospitals. Majority of them widely practice and propagate meditation, yoga and different breathing techniques which often helps in coping with a plethora of physical, mental and emotional problems. But none of these reasons are good enough to elevate normal human beings to the position of gods.

These godmen live in glamorous ashrams, have influential political connections and millions of followers who pay thousands of rupees just to hear their Godmen sermons.
These godmen live in glamorous ashrams, have influential political connections and millions of followers who pay thousands of rupees just to hear their Godmen sermons. Wikimedia Commons

Over the past few years, quite a few scandals were dug up in and around the ashrams of some of the renowned spiritual leaders, proving them to be as human as any of us. But this does not cause their followers from losing faith in their “swami”. They all remain as loyal as ever. In a country where so many religions, cultures and languages coexist, it is quite heartening and unbelievable to see so much unity.

A fine line has to be drawn for such religious Babas in India. Although it is hard to change the people’s mindset about their faith and religion to which they have bound themselves. And hence, the ‘Baba Culture’ goes on.

Also Read: Criminal Babas in India- Rapist Ram Rahim and Rapist Asaram: Why Delay in Justice of these Godmen?

Why do people continue to believe in babas even after their conviction?

Such fake Babas are not only deceptive talks but they are also competent enough to trick anyone. People always get charmed by those who have the craft to perform miracles. These godmen, who are apt at performing tricks, are able to influence innocent people.

People usually come to these religious babas to seek solace and are in turn obliged by the Godmen who perform tricks. If something good happens, the people feel that it is due to the blessing of their religious Baba. People who are socially and economically insecure also fall prey to the charm of babas who in turn take advantage.

As long as ignorance and superstition continue to exist in India, the trade of these fake babas will continue to flourish.

Also Read: Baba Ramdev’s Yoga: Insulting the art of living by doing more harm than good to health

Here is a list of ‘fake Babas’ who have indulged in unlawful activities and still have a huge blind following:

Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh

Among the many Godman’s who have been convicted over the years for wrongdoings, Ram Rahim tops the chart. Ram Rahim has been the chief of Dera Sacha Sauda since 1990. The self-styled Godman has been embroiled in various criminal cases. On August 25, 2017, he was convicted by a CBI court for raping a female follower in 2002.

Gurmeet Ram Rahim has been the chief of Dera Sacha Sauda since 1990.
Gurmeet Ram Rahim has been the chief of Dera Sacha Sauda since 1990. Wikimedia Commons

In the same year, charges were also levelled against Ram Rahim for the murder of a journalist Ram Chander Chhatrapati, and Ranjit Singh, the manager of Dera Sacha Sauda. Following the August 25 verdict, his followers resorted to violent protests in which over 30 people were killed and around 80 injured.

Asaram Bapu

Born in 1941, Asaram Bapu today has more than 400 ashrams in India as well as abroad and a large number of followers. Asaram Bapu is a highly controversial figure and is embroiled in many cases. In 2013, a 16-year-old girl accused Asaram of sexually assaulting her. Asaram, along with his son, is also accused of killing two boys in 2008.

Asaram is a highly controversial figure and is embroiled in many cases.
Asaram is a highly controversial figure and is embroiled in many cases. Wikimedia Commons

Asaram Bapu is also involved in a land grabbing case. His controversial statements regarding the 2012 Delhi rape case were widely condemned. He has commented that the girl was also responsible for her plight and suggested that she should have called the attacker’s brothers and pleaded them to stop.

Nirmal Baba

Nirmal Baba is well known across India for his highly popular public discourses. His sermons are carried out by various channels in India and many other countries have helped him to get a numerous following.

Nirmal Baba has been accused of cheating and fraud.
Nirmal Baba has been accused of cheating and fraud. Wikimedia Commons

Nirmal Baba has also been said to spread superstition and blind faith. After his TV programs were found encouraging superstition, in May 2017, the Allahabad High Court had ordered the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to investigate the matter. In 2014, Nirmal Baba was charged with evading service tax to the tune of Rs 3.5 crore.

Rampal Das

Rampal Das, an engineer turned baba, is a self-styled Godman and the leader of Kabir Panth. According to him, Kabir is the supreme god and his sect is opposed to idol worship, adultery, untouchability etc.

Rampal Das, an engineer turned baba, is a self-styled Godman and the leader of Kabir Panth. Wikimedia Commons
Rampal Das, an engineer turned baba, is a self-styled Godman and the leader of Kabir Panth. Wikimedia Commons

Rampal Das remains to be a controversial figure and was arrested on charges of murder, sedition, attempt to murder, hoarding illegal weapons, etc in 2014. In 2006, he was involved in clashes with the followers of Arya Samaj in which one person was killed.

Swami Nithyananda

Popular for his spiritual discourses and meditation programmes, Swami Nithyananda was named as one of the 100 most spiritually influential living people in the world by Watkins’Mind Body Spirit magazine. He claims to be the most-watched spiritual teacher on YouTube with more than 14 million views and the author of more than 300 books published in 27 languages.

Nithyananda landed in a controversy after a purported video footage showing him in a compromising position with an actress was telecast by local TV channels. Nithyananda said the video was morphed and manipulated to misrepresent his personal life but did not deny his images with actress Ranjita in the film.

Swami Nithyananda was named as one of the 100 most spiritually influential living people in the world by Watkins’Mind Body Spirit magazine.
Swami Nithyananda was named as one of the 100 most spiritually influential living people in the world by Watkins’Mind Body Spirit magazine. Wikimedia Commons

The video aired on Tamil TV channels caused a furore, with some Hindu groups and others protesting against Nithyananda. The Karnataka government too promised “very strict” action against him. Lenin Karuppan, who had exposed the alleged sex scandal, was arrested after a complaint by the manager of Nithyananda’s ashram that Lenin had demanded money to keep the video secret.

Swami Agnivesh

Swami Agnivesh is a former member of legislative assembly from Haryana. He is an Arya Samaj scholar and social activist. Agnivesh has also participated as a guest in the Indian TV reality show Bigg Boss. Through it, he tried promoting and creating awareness on social issues including corruption. In August 2011, Swami Agnivesh joined ‘Team Anna Hazare’ in the anti-corruption protests. Later, he parted his way from the main group claiming that other protesters humiliated and conspired against him.