Jailed 'godman' Gurmeet Ram Rahim convicted in journalist's murder
On Friday, a Haryana court convicted jailed, self-styled 'godman' Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh and three others in a case pertaining to the murder of journalist Ram Chander Chhatrapati. Considering the violence that had broken out when Ram Rahim had been convicted of rape earlier, security has been beefed up in Haryana and Punjab to prevent Ram Rahim's followers from creating havoc. Here's more.
Chhatrapati had been shot after an expose on Ram Rahim
In 2002, Chhatrapati's newspaper, Poora Sach, published an anonymous letter that narrated how young women were sexually exploited by Ram Rahim. Shortly after the letter was published, the journalist was shot. He later succumbed to his injuries. Subsequently, a case was registered in 2003, and in 2006, the CBI took over investigations in the case. The quantum of Ram Rahim's sentence will be announced on January 17.
Ram Rahim had been found guilty of rape in 2017
Ram Rahim, who the Indian Express ranked as the 96th most powerful Indian in 2015, had been the head of the group Dera Sacha Sauda since 1990. However, in 2017, the self-styled godman came under the national spotlight after a special CBI court found him guilty of two counts of rape, dating back to 2002. He was handed a 20-year-long prison term.
Over 30 people died in violent riots afterwards
However, the hundreds of thousands of Dera Sacha Sauda followers who had gathered ahead of the verdict reacted in an adverse manner, and violent protests broke out in several parts of northern India. Later, it was found that Ram Rahim's adopted daughter, Honeypreet Insan, had incited the violent riots in the aftermath of the godman's conviction. More than 30 people were killed.
Ram Rahim has a clutch of pending cases
Following the violence, Honeypreet slipped out of public view, but surrendered to police a month later, and confessed to inciting the violent riots. Meanwhile, a clutch of cases against Ram Rahim came to light - the godman was accused of castrating hundreds of his followers, while more murder cases surfaced against him. As it stands, several cases are pending against Ram Rahim.
Where is Ram Rahim now?
Ram Rahim is currently serving his prison term for rape at the Sunaria Jail in Rohtak. Incidentally, during the chaos that followed his conviction, Ram Rahim had tried escaping his sentence with the help of police officers, but the attempt failed.