Ram Rahim on trial again: Hearing in 2 murder-cases begins
Hearing on two murder cases related to Ram Rahim, rape convict, will be conducted today. To prevent a massacre like last time, security has been tightened in Panchkula. The 'godman' who's in a Rohtak jail will appear in court via video-conferencing. After he was convicted for rape on August 25, large-scale violence broke out in parts of northern India. over 40 people died.
Ram Rahim is accused of the murder of journalist Ram Chander Chattrapati, the editor of a daily called 'Poora Sach' which extensively followed the rape case. He was shot in October'02. Ram Rahim's manager Krishan Lal and two shooters - Kuldeep Singh and Nirmal Singh - are the main accused. Lal allegedly gave his revolver to the two shooters in the presence of Ram Rahim.
The other murder case is of former Dera manager Ranjit Singh. Five Dera members- Avtar, Inder Sain, Jasbir Singh, Krishan Lal (the aforementioned) and Sabdil Singh- allegedly had Ranjit killed. Ranjit was reportedly involved in circulating an anonymous letter that made sexual assault allegations against the Dera chief. It was Ram Rahim who had allegedly ordered his murder. He was shot dead in July'02.
In yet another case, Rahim Singh and three other Dera members were charged with the disappearance and murder of his driver Faqir Chand. However, it was closed in 2010 due to "poor investigation" by CBI. The accused were exonerated.
The hearing on Ram Rahim's rape cases took an unexpected turn as lakhs of followers went on a rampage after his conviction. Shocking details emerged later: the influential 'godman' had a fool-proof escape plan in place. Even police were involved. The Dera had also planned the violence: they had supplied money and weapons to the rioters beforehand.