Investigations into the assault charges against Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda boss Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh were activated by a mysterious letter written in 2002, routed to then PM AB Vajpayee and a few best establishments, including the Panjab and Haryana high court.
Almost 15 years on, the Dera boss on Monday was given a 10-year imprison term for the situation, even as he and his supporters keep on questioning the credibility of the letter every one of these years. (LIVE?updates)
The three-page letter wrote in Hindi, a duplicate of which is in control of HT, portrays the experience of a dera sadhvi (lady devotee) who accused Ram Rahim of sexual abuse of the sadhvis in the dera. Sources said the examining specialists once ascribed the letter to a previous sadhvi in Bathinda yet she discredited their claim.
The letter, which was gotten by the high court by post on May 5, was additionally routed to Union home service, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) other than media workplaces looking for mediation into wrongdoings in the dera
Here is the full text of the letter under whose the mighty godman of Dera Sacha Sauda crumbled and lost his empire:
Honourable Prime Minister
Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee (Government of India)
Subject: Request for probe into rape of hundreds of girls by Dera chief (Ram Rahim)
I am a girl hailing from Punjab and I have been serving as a sadhvi at Dera Sacha Sauda, Sirsa (Haryana) for the last five years. There are hundreds of other girls, who serve for 16-18 hours a day at the Dera. We are being physically exploited here. Dera Maharaj Gurmeet Singh rapes girls at the Dera. I am a graduate girl. My family members are blind followers of Maharaj (Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh). I became a sadhvi at my family’s bidding.
Two years after I became a sadhvi, Maharaj Gurmeet Singh’s close woman-disciple Gurjot told me one night around 10 pm that I had been summoned to ‘Gufa’ (residence of Gurmeet Ram Rahim). As I was going there for the first time, I was elated that God himself had sent out for me. When I went upstairs, I saw Maharaj sitting on the bed holding a remote control in hand and watching a blue film on TV. Besides his pillow on the bed, lay a revolver. Seeing all this, I was stunned, felt dizziness, and felt as if the earth has moved from beneath my feet. I wondered what at all was happening here.
I had never imagined that Maharaj would be such a person. Maharaj switched off the TV and seated me beside him. He offered me water and said that he had called me because he considered me very dear to him. This was my first day (experience).
Maharaj took me in his arms and said that he loved me from the core of his heart. He also said that he wanted to make love with me. He told me that at the time of becoming his disciple, I had dedicated my wealth, body, and soul to him and he had accepted my offering. By this logic, your body is mine now.
When I objected he said, “There is no doubt that I am God.” When I asked if God also indulges in such acts, he shot back:
1. Sri Krishna too was God and he had 360 topics (milkmaids) with whom he staged Prem Lila (love drama). Even then people regarded him as God. This is not a new thing.
2. I can kill you with this revolver and cremate you here. The members of your family are my devoted followers and they have such blind faith in me that they are my slaves. You know it very well that your family members cannot go against me.
3. I have considerable influence in the governments. The chief ministers of Punjab and Haryana and central Ministers touch my feet. Politicians seek my support and take money from me. They cannot take any action against me. We will get your family members dismissed from government jobs. I will get them killed and wouldn’t leave any evidence behind. You know it very well that I had got Dera manager Fakir Chand killed earlier. No one knows anything about him till date. Neither there is any evidence of the murder. By money power, I can buy politicians, police, and justice.
Thus, he raped me. For the past three months, my turn comes every 25-30 days. Now, I realize that he has been raping other girls staying with him.
Around 35-40 women living at the Dera are over 35-40 years old and past the marriageable age. They have compromised with their lives at the Dera. Most of the girls are educated and have secured BA, MA, BEd degrees. But they are living a life of hell at the Dera because their family members are fanatic followers. We wear white clothes, cover heads with scarf, forbidden to look at men and keep a distance of 5-10 feet from me as per Maharaj’s commands.
We appear like devis (pious women), but our situation is that of prostitutes. I tried once to tell my family members that all was not well at the Dera. But, they got angry with me saying that if God’s company is not worth enjoying then which place would be. It seems your mind has become corrupt, recite the name of Satguru (the real teacher), they told me. I am helpless. I have to obey every command of the Maharaj.
No girl is permitted to talk to another. As per the commands of the Maharaj, girls are not permitted to talk to their families even over the telephone. If a girl talks about the reality of the Dera, she is punished under the commands of the Maharaj. Just a few days ago, a Bathinda girl spoke about the wrongdoings of the Maharaj, she was thrashed by women-disciples. She is still bedridden at her home due to this assault. Her father has left his service as a sevadar (servant of Dera). She is not telling anyone anything for the fear of Maharaj.
Similarly, a girl from Kurukshetra district has also left the Dera and went back home. When she narrated her sufferings at the Dera to her family, her brother who worked as a sevadar, gave up his job. When a Sangrur girl left the Dera, went home and narrated the wrongdoings at the Dera to the people, the Dera’s armed sewadar hooligans visited the girl’s home and threatened to kill her. They warned her not to tell anyone anything about the Dera.
Similarly, girls from Mansa, Ferozepur, Patiala and Ludhiana districts (of Punjab) have gone back home and are keeping mum as they have a threat to their lives. Same is the fate of girls from Sirsa, Hissar, Fatehabad, Hanumangarh and Meerut who are not uttering a word due to muscle power of the Dera goondas.
If I reveal my name (and) my address, my family and I will be killed. I can’t keep quiet and I also don’t want to die, but I want to expose the reality (of Dera). If a probe is conducted by the press or some government agency, 40 to 45 girls – living in utmost fear at the Dera -, if they are convinced, are willing, to tell the truth.
Our medical examination should be conducted so that our guardians and the people would know whether we are still celibate disciples or not. If we are no longer virgins, it should be probed as to who violated our chastity. The truth will then come out that Maharaj Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh of Sacha Sauda has ruined our lives.
HC SET THE BALL ROLLING
While the vast majority of the beneficiaries did not respond, the high court took discernment of the issue and coordinated the then locale and sessions judge in Sirsa, MS Sular, to direct an investigation into the issue.
In his answer to the high court, Sular did not preclude the likelihood of such acts in the dera yet said no one there was set up to talk about the sexual mishandle, and there was no real way to get to the lodging where sadhvis were living, without the consent of Ram Rahim or the dera specialists.
As the judge prescribed that the issue is researched by a focal organization, the high court changed over the protestation into a criminal request of and passed a request dated September 24, 2002, coordinating the CBI to explore the affirmations. That denoted the start of the formal examinations against the Dera boss.
CBI Chandigarh enlisted a case on December 12, 2002, under Section 376 (assault), 506 (criminal terrorizing) and 509 (affront to the humility of the lady) of the Indian Penal Code and started formal examinations.
TWO VICTIMS TRACED
Over the span of the examination, the CBI confronted numerous legitimate difficulties, including stay arranges on leading the test for one and half years in the vicinity of 2003 and 2004, which was later lifted.
Sources said the CBI’s fundamental test was to discover the sadhvis who had left the dera supposedly because of physical misuse and persuade them to dismiss against Ram Rahim.
At last, they figured out how to follow two casualties and record a charge-sheet against him in 2007 in the uncommon CBI court, which was then in the Ambala locale courts before being moved to Panchkula.
CONTENT OF THE COMPLAINT
Asserting to be an inhabitant of Punjab, the unknown sadhvi said she was an expressions graduate who had been roused by her folks to wind up plainly a sadhvi. She said she alongside 40-45 different young ladies was doing administration in the dera for a considerable length of time.
Two years after she had turned into a sadhvi, Ram Rahim called her into his ‘gufa’, his living arrangement inside the dera, where he was sitting in front of the TV with a gun close by. She asserted that she was debilitated and after that assaulted by him.
The lady charged she was then over and over assaulted by the dera boss, who disclosed to her that no expert could continue against him. She composed that she was smashed and later came to realize that other ladies adherents were likewise abused previously, then after the fact her.
She likewise described how a young lady from Sangrur was debilitated after she shared her difficulty in her neighborhood subsequent to leaving the dera.
The lady finished up the letter by looking for the intercession of the then head administrator and the courts. She said she couldn’t share her name as it would then welcome inconvenience for her and her relatives.
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