BJP’s Goonda and Godman Connection

On August 28, 2017 a CBI court at Rohtak Jail in Haryana sentenced self-styled godman and high profile BJP supporter Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh to 20 years in prison for repeatedly raping two nuns belonging to his controversial cult Dehra Sacha Sauda. The sentencing had to take place within a 10 km cordon maintained by the police and 23 paramilitary companies due to the Haryana BJP Manohar Lal Khattar government’s support of the Dera Chief and his 50,000 followers who went on a murderous rampage in Panchkula, Haryana that killed 38 people when he was convicted on August 25th.

One of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh’s victims had written personally to BJP Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee of her predicament as early as 2002. Ever since then the “Rapist Baba” has been buying BJP’s support and inaction by supporting them in elections, most notably in 2014 where he endorsed Narendra Modi for Prime Minister. His vast support base of an estimated 5 crore people and outlandish but wildly popular media outreach has meant that he has been personally endorsed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a rally in Sirsa in October 2014 and earned special mention on Twitter for his support for Swacch Bharat Abhiyan. The BJP’s support to the ungodly cult leader has been monetary too. Haryana Education Minister Ram Bilas Sharma presented Gurmeet Ram Rahim with a birthday cheque of Rs. 51 lakhs from his ministry’s discretionary fund to promote sports. This was a top up from the previous year when Health and Sports Minister Anil Vij gave him 50 lakhs from his discretionary fund for the same purpose. This was followed in quick succession by a further 11 lakhs from Minister of Co-operation, Printing & Stationery and Urban Local Bodies, Manish Grover, in exchange for his blessings.

Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar was pulled up by the Punjab and Haryana High Court for “letting Panchkula burn for political motives.” The Chief Minister, who along with his cabinet visited the rapist guru for his blessings before taking their oaths, failed to make the necessary arrangements to prevent the buildup of the mob and to investigate allegations that they were stockpiling weapons for their show of anger even though he was made aware of the sensitive court hearing more than a week in advance. Calling the orgy of violence which followed unprecedented and pointing to CM Khattar’s inactive complicity, Congress spokesperson Dr. Abhishek Manu Singhvi advocates the imposition of President’s rule. CM Khattar has broken his sacred contract with the people of Haryana by allowing law and order to lapse and more than 250 people to be injured in the violent anarchy which ensued.

Echoing the twisted logic of BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj, who insisted the rapist Baba was innocent as rape allegations were made by only one of his crores of supporters, the defence pleaded that Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh be given a more lenient sentence given the good from his social work outweighed the extent of his heinous crimes, which allegedly include having Hindi newspaper Poora Sach publisher Ram Chander Chhatrapati killed for carrying the victim’s letter to Vajpayee, and convincing more than 400 followers to get themselves castrated “as it would bring them closer to God.”

The Goonda-Godmen connection is vital to the BJP’s electoral success. It is for the very same reason that even when convicted of rape, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was airlifted into prison by Gautam Adani in the Prime Minister’s favourite helicopter. Save for the magnificence of the independent judiciary, criminal cult leaders controlling BJP’s vote banks would continue to get away with murder and be treated like VVIPs.