Chandigarh, August 28: Baba Ram Rahim Singh, who gave spiritual guidance to his followers till a few days ago, on Monday begged for mercy from the court but was refused.
Once known for his flamboyant lifestyle and access to the highest corridors of power, controversial godman Gurmeeet Ram Rahim Singh broke down like a child in an open court after he was sentenced to 10 years in jail in a rape case.
With folded hands, the chief of the Dera Sacha Sauda, who ran multiple ashrams spread across northern states of Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan, begged for mercy like an ordinary citizen before special CBI court judge Jagdeep Singh in Rohtak’s Sunaria jail.
At the final pronouncement of quantum of sentence at the Sunaria jail’s library, a makeshift court, the defence argued that Ram Rahim Singh is a “social worker” who has worked for the welfare of people and so the court should take a lenient view while pronouncing the sentence. Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh broke down and asked for forgiveness. The court announced 10 years of sentence and a fine of Rs 65,000 under Sections 376, 576 and 509.
After this began a 10-minute-long drama by the godman. The ‘Love Charger’ Baba who claims to have given spiritual guidance to lakhs of followers, folded his hands before the court and begged for mercy.
Claiming to be the “Messenger of God” (MSG), the Baba who even made two films by the same name, was petrified today. “Mujhe maaf kar dijiye,” (forgive me) was all he could utter.
The “Guru” who will now be known as Qaidi No. 1997 had to be dragged out of the courtroom as he sat down refusing to leave. He even complained of uneasiness and high blood pressure problems. However, doctors found him to be medically fit and fine. He was soon given jail costume.
Earlier, the judge was specially flown to Rohtak, 70 km from Delhi, today for announcing the sentence at the special court. Ram Rahim was brought and lodged in the jail (Prisoner No. 1997) here after his conviction by the CBI court in Panchkula, adjoining Chandigarh, on Friday.
Meanwhile, fresh violent incidents were reported in Sirsa town. Two vehicles were set on fire by Dera followers, sources said.
To keep Dera followers, who had indulged in large-scale violence in Panchkula on Friday after he was convicted, in check, authorities in Haryana on Monday issued shoot-at-sight orders in and around the District Jail at Sunaria.
38 people were killed and 264 others were injured in the violence in Panchkula and Sirsa towns in Haryana.