(Image source from: The Hindu)
Rape Survivors Move To HC Seeking Life Term For Ram Rahim:- Seeking life imprisonment for the self-styled godman and Dera Sacha Sauda Chief, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, two female disciples who were raped by him moved to the Punjab and Haryana High Court. They said that the 20-year jail term given to him was not enough.
The two sadhvis, in their petition, filed before the High Court in Chandigarh said the 10-year jail term to the Dera Sacha Sauda sect chief in each case of rape was not enough for the heinous crime he committed. The two sadhvis, were raped by the godman in 1999.
The 10-year prison term will run consecutively (one after another) said the court. After being convicted by the CBI special court in Panchkula on two counts of rape of female disciples, Ram Rahim was sentenced to 20 years rigorous imprisonment and fine of over Rs 30 lakh.
The victims in their petition pointed out that in rape cases where a person in a position of authority or power misuses that position to commit rape, he should be given maximum punishment – which is life imprisonment. A lesser punishment would not achieve “the ends of justice”, pointed out the victims.
“Gurmeet is head of religious organization known as Dera and had committed a grave breach of trust and he was called Pitaji (father),” the petition stated.
“Abusing his position as religious head, in whom the followers had blind faith, he committed rape,” it added.
A person in position of power and trust faces a maximum of life imprisonment for rape, under new provisions introduced after the 2012 gang rape and murder of Nirbhaya in Delhi. Ram Rahim’s rape conviction led to violence in Panchkula and Sirsa in Haryana. The violence left 38 people dead and another 264 injured. Few incidents of violence were also reported from Delhi and several places in Punjab.