Gurmeet Ram Rahim: Rockstar godman mired in controversies
It is hard to fathom why self-styled godman Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh has such a massive following. The Dera Sacha Sauda chief is a multifaceted personality. Singh is a movie actor, a singer, a writer, director and a social reformer. To his followers, he is a spiritual leader and others just wonder why he is so popular.
The special CBI court is set to deliver its verdict on the rape case against Singh on Friday. The upcoming verdict will be the conclusion of the long running rape case that dates back to 2002. The whole episode began after an anonymous letter was sent to then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee alleging sexual assaults by the Dera chief. Two women, who were former members of the sect came out accusing the sect leader of rape.
Who is Ram Rahim?
- Ram Rahim was born to Naseeb Kaur and Maghar Singh on August 15, 1967, at Sri Gurusar Modia village in Ganganagar district of Rajasthan.
- He is married to Harjeet Kaur and has three daughters and a son.
- He has been the head of the Dera Sacha Sauda (DSS) since 23 September 1990.
- Ram Rahim has organised drives for blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol screening that have been recognized by Guinness World Records.
- He has received an honorary doctorate degree from the UK-based World Records University.
- The Indian Express had placed Singh 96th in their list of the 100 most powerful Indians of 2015.
- He has written, produced, directed and acted in three movies. He can be seen wearing fancy colourful clothes, riding a motorcycle, performing heroic feats and thrashing bad folks in his movies.
- According to Asia Book of Records, Singh holds a record of most (43) roles and responsibilities in a single film.
- In 2014 Haryana polls, Ram Rahim's organisation supported Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Dera Sacha Sauda ashram in Sirsa
Conflict with Sikh groups:
An advertisement in which Gurmeet Ram Rahim is shown wearing an attire resembling the tenth Sikh Guru Gobind Singh left the community fuming. Following this, Ram Rahim tendered an apology to highest Sikh body Akal Takht. A case was also filed in the Sirsa court in 2009 and Bathinda court in 2014, but both were later dismissed.
Followers of Ram Rahim gather at Sirsa
Singh was in 2002 accused of having played a role in the murder of journalist Ram Chander Chatrapati, who was writing articles about the Dera.
The arrest of a comedian for mocking Dera chief:
In 2016, comedian Kiku Sharda was arrested in Mumbai by the Haryana Police for mimicking Singh on a show. Sharda spent 14 days in judicial custody in Kaithal, Haryana, even as he maintained that he was merely following the script. The case was filed by a Dera follower.
Unprecedented security in Chandigarh
In 2014, Singh was accused of forcing castration of around 400 followers. The castration was being carried out on pretext of attainment of union with God. The Dera chief denied the allegations, but the CBI had filed a case.
Censor board member resignation:
Former chairperson of Censor Board Leela Samson had resigned after Gurmeet Ram Rahim's movie MSG: Messenger of God was given clearance. Following Samson's resignation, another board member Ira Bhaskar also resigned from the board.