The conviction and sentencing will now be challenged legally, but that is the right of every accused.
The “godman” accused of raping at least two women has met his comeuppance with a CBI special court sentencing him to 10 years’ RI for each count of rape — a total of 20 years in prison. The bizarre behaviour of the Dera Sacha Sauda’s followers, who went on a rampage of arson and destruction of property when he was held guilty on Friday, was largely contained by precautionary steps taken, albeit belatedly, by the Haryana government. Such elements can’t be allowed to hold the country to ransom. The godman’s ashram, the nerve centre which allowed questionable sexual activities by its chief, must be taken over lest a Waco-like siege erupts as in the United States in 1993 when cultists waged war against the State. His headquarters can be returned to its owners after the cult affirms that it would not support rapists.
The conviction and sentencing will now be challenged legally, but that is the right of every accused. The entire episode, revealed due to the courage of two “sadhvis”, exposes the seedy activities of glib godmen who promise spiritual experiences and fool gullible people into thinking they have answers to complex questions. What Gurmeet Ram Rahim did was betray the trust placed in him by innocent women seeking mental peace. To expose men like him is a signal service to those who can be misled by these illusions of a higher power like the fables and accoutrements the “Baba of Bling” built around himself in his ashram of sleaze. The lesson to be learnt is that no messenger of God should be confused with the Maker.