A CBI court in Haryana declared Dera Sacha Sauda Chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh guilty of rape on Friday, bringing a sense of justice to the women he had abused. But there's another victim of this case who awaits legal redress from the same court that convicted Singh a rapist. Rather, his family does.
In 2002, journalist Ram Chander Chhatrapati ran an anonymous letter in his daily Poora Sachh, exposing the ugly truth about Singh, much-revered as a godman by his followers.
The three-page letter, written by a woman in Hindi, was addressed to the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee as well as to the heads of several institutions, including the Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court. It revealed Singh as a sex offender, who exploited his women followers (or sadhvis), and urged the authorities to take action against him.
Soon after the expose, Chhatrapati was shot at point-blank range by miscreants outside his house. He spent almost a month battling for his life in a hospital but eventually succumbed to the injuries. Although he had named Singh as one of the accused in the FIR, the police refused to mention his name in it. So it fell upon his son Anshul, then 21, to take up a prolonged battle against the authorities in his quest for justice that is yet to end.
In his mid-30s now, Anshul is persisting with his struggle, alongside running his father's newspaper.
"I was 21 then, and did not know where to go for justice after the police did not include the name of the Dera chief in the FIR," he told the Hindustan Times. Finally, he petitioned the Punjab and Haryana high court for a CBI inquiry in January 2003.
Another murder case against Singh, once again in the same court, is for the killing of one Ranjit Singh, a former member of the Dera, in July 2002. Ranjit Singh had also revealed the spiritual guru's alleged misdeeds at his headquarters at Sirsa, including the sexual abuse of female devotees by some people involved in the sect's management.
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