On August 28, 2017, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Judge Jagdeep Singh was flown to Rohtak Jail to sentence Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.
The CBI sought life imprisonment, while the defence cited his age, health, and social work as mitigating factors.
Soon though, Gurmeet Ram Rahim was sentenced to 20 years rigorous imprisonment for raping two of his women followers over a period.
He reportedly wept as he was dragged from the makeshift courtroom.
In lieu of all that has transpired, an auto driver told me, “For every five corrupt people there is one kind person who is working tirelessly to make changes and bring things back on track. Sometimes in highlighting the bad, we simply forget to applaud the good.”
So here’s applauding the courageous and good acts that the following people have done which helped in justice being is served.
1. The sadhvis
In 2002, a sadhvi from the Dera Sacha Sauda camp sent an anonymous letter to the then Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, alleging that she and a few other sadhvis were repeatedly raped by the DSS chief, Gurmeet Ram Rahim.
In that letter, she alleged that the assaults continued for three years and had happened with at least 40 other sadhvis. However, other than her and one more victim, no one else came forward.
This was the point of germination. The Punjab and Haryana High Court took suo motu cognizance of the case, and it was referred to the CBI in September 2002.
For 15 long years, these two women travelled hundreds of kilometres for court dates and to give testimony. They withstood immense pressure from all sides and the constant threat of assassination.
2. Ranjit Singh
A high-profile member of the Dera Sacha Sauda, an aide to Gurmeet Ram Rahim and brother of one of the raped sadhvis, he is believed to have helped the sadhvi send the anonymous letter to PM Vajpayee.
This help that he extended, unfortunately, seems to have cost him dearly. There are allegations that the Dera feared he would reveal all if he spoke out any further. He was murdered in 2002.
Gurmeet Ram Rahim has been charged in that murder case as well, and the case is currently under trial.
3. Ram Chander Chhatrapati
Ram Chander was the editor of ‘Poora Sach’, the first publication that was willing to take on the DSS Supremo and publish the allegations. For this act, he paid a hefty price.
Soon after he published the explosive letter sent to PM Vajpayee in his newspaper in 2002, two men on a motorcycle shot him at point blank range outside his home.
He battled for his life for 28 days in a hospital in Delhi before succumbing to his injuries. Before he died, Ram Chander named Gurmeet Ram Rahim as the man behind the act.
4. Anshul Chhatrapati
Anshul Chhatrapati, is the son of journalist Ram Chander Chhatrapati. Having lost his father at 21 years of age, he has struggled to uphold the principles his father fought for. He was instrumental in getting the CBI involved in the investigations after he approached the High Court in 2003.
5. Judge Jagdeep Singh
Without bowing down to pressure, Judge Jagdeep Singh ensured that he did his duty with utmost sincerity.
He is described as a very competent, tough and upright judge with a no-nonsense attitude. And he clearly knew the consequences of his judgement. Despite such pressure, he gave the right judgement. Kudos!
Here is our article on him.
6. Deputy Inspector General of Police Mulinja Narayanan
Mulinja was posted as Deputy Inspector General of Police (Special Crimes) in Delhi when the Punjab and Haryana High Court handed the case to the CBI in September 2002.
He has on several occasions mentioned how much pressure there was from all quarters to ensure that this case is wrapped up soon.
Soon after the verdict, he shared with TV News channels how politicians, businesspeople and sometimes his own juniors would demand that the case closed.
But he stood firm to all pressure.
Mulinja retired in 2009
7. Former Central Bureau of Investigation Director Vijay Shankar
It was during his tenure that the CBI filed a charge sheet in the case in 2007. He has also admitted that there was a lot of political pressure in this case.
Once during the investigations, Dera supporters surrounded the CBI office at Panchkula. This issue was resolved only when the police were called in.
8. Good cops who foiled Gurmeet Ram Rahim’s plan to flee
A few Haryana Police officers and paramilitary force personnel, who were inside the court complex in Sector 1 of Panchkula, sensed the brewing situation and quickly took the convict into their custody after a scuffle with his security personnel.
The moment was nothing short of a film scene. Gurmeet Ram Rahim’s black cat commandos intercepted the car he was being taken in and demanded the cops free ‘pitaji’. The cops did not back down, and despite being shot at, managed to overcome the commandos.
We salute the courage and the grit that these people have shown.