Controversial Indian godman, Gurmeet Ram Rahim, who was convicted with charges of rape on Friday (August 25) by the Special CBI Court has been sentenced to ten years of imprisonment on Monday.
Prior to sentencing Singh had been accorded Z-plus security – usually reserved for prominent politicians – this showed the level of political influence this controversial sect leader wielded.
Further to this according to reports from Indian media just minutes before the pronouncement of the sentence, two cars were reportedly torched by the self-styled godman’s supporters in the Phoolka area of Haryana’s Sirsa.
It is reported that the rape case was initially registered by the CBI in April 2002 against the self-styled godman after allegations of sexual exploitation of two women followers. The then prime minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, had received an anonymous letter from a follower that she was being raped by Ram Rahim.
Following Ram Rahim’s conviction on Friday, his ‘bhakts’ (worshippers) went on a rampage in Haryana’s Panchkula and Sirsa, demanding justice for their leader.
Singh’s legal team has already said it will appeal against the verdict in the Punjab and Haryana high court.
Media reports said that prosecutors would be asking for a harsher sentence. They had called for a life term.
A lawyer for the victims said 50 women had come forward with allegations of rape and they would be seeking further investigation in the case.
“We believe there are at least 48 more victims who were sexually abused,” lawyer Utsav Singh Bains told AFP.