Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Qaidi No. 1997. Gurmeet's journey from FAME to SHAME

Syyed Mansoor Agha
The fabulous website introduces ‘Dera Sachcha Sauda’ (DSS) Chief as “His Excellency, Hazoor Maharaj Saint Dr. Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Ji Insan”. Convicted in two rape cases and imprisoned for 20 years on 28 August, 2017, the 50 year old “Chief” has earned a new identity, “Qaidi number 1997, Sunairiya Jail Rohtak.”
 The flamboyant chief, used to ostentatious and luxurious living style at his residence in a quasi-religious campus in Sirsa (Haryana), spread over 600 Acre. Now he is spending sleepless nights on the floor of a tiny cell in the barrack of the prison like any ordinary prisoner. No cushions, no pillows, no AC, no fans, no bottled cold water, no comfort lady. The huge empire of his clout in power corridors, VIP status, Z+ security, revered status among the masses, his fame as undefeatable and above all the humble sir name of “Insaan”; all came crumbling down as the “Baba” was found crazy of forcing himself on young girls who joined his Dera as “Sadhvis” (disciples), ostensibly for meditation, spiritual salvation and ultimate peace. This reminds us what the Holy Quran said in Surah Aal e Imran:
Say: “O Allah, Lord of all dominion! You bestow dominion on whomever You please, and take away dominion from whomever You please, and You exalt whom You please, and abase whom You please. In Your Hand is all good. Surely You are All-Powerful.” (3:26)
Yes, it is the pleasure of Allah when He bestows the domain and when He takes away, but this is not without reason. As Quran said in Surah Maryam, Ayat 96
 “On those who believe (in Allah and hereafter) and work deeds of righteousness, Most Gracious (Allah) will bestow love.” (19:26)
We can imagine it’s vice versa. The day, the dreaded face of ugly deeds, shrouded behind layers of false charity is exposed; one loses all the love and the respect. So in one stroke, the “godman” turned in to “bad man”. May Allah save us all.
The ‘Dera Sachcha Sauda’ was established in April 1948 by a Sikh reformer Mastana Balochistani. He was disciple of Sikh spiritual guru Baba Sawan Singh (1858-1948). Baba Sawan associated him with his mission and tasked him to spread social reforms among the Sikhs of southern Punjab (Now Haryana) and northern Rajasthan. Baba Sawan Singh was the second Satguru of Radha Soami Satsang Beas (RSSB). After Baba’s demise, Mastana left RSSB and founded his own sect in the city of Sirsa. He established 25 Ashrams in Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan. People, who were inducted in the sect, had to take a three point pledge: not to eat meat, eggs or gelatin; will not consume alcohol, drugs, tobacco etc and will not indulge in adultery or illicit sex. Dera also prohibited accepting donations and stressed upon the value of labor.
After Baba Bilochistani’s death, Shah Satnam Singh (SSS) took over in 1963. He was close to the family of Sardar Maghar Singh, a wealthy landlord and chief of Sri Gurusar Modia village in Ganganagar district of Rajasthan. He and his wife Naseeb Kaur became his disciples. After a gap of 18 years, Gurmeet Singh was born to Naseeb Kaur on 15 August 1967. At the age of 7, his father initiated him into the Dera Sacha Sauda and gave him in the guidance of Shah Satnam Singh.
Shah Satnam Singh, for some reasons suddenly announced his retirement in 1990 when insurgency in the Punjab was on the peek. At that time three senior members of the sect were being considered as his rightful successor. Gurmeet’s name was nowhere in mention. Shah hurriedly called a huge Satsang on 23 September 1990 and made an unexpected and unusual announcement of appointing immature youth Gurmeet Singh (22 years) as his successor. (Some reports indicate that a cousin brother of Gurmeet may be instrumental in. He had criminal background and was also indulged in insurgency. Later he was killed.) Shah gave him the name "Huzoor Maharaj Gurmeet Ram Rahim". Next year Gurmeet took over the charge at 23. Gurmeet, unmindful of basic principles of the sect gave great flip, multifold its activity and political cloud which made Dera much more visible and important for all politicians, He added more than a dozen ashrams, opened schools at many places with low fee and good education. He also brought around 60 million people in his fold. Huge sections from socially discredited sections, irrespective of Sikh or non-Sikh joined the Dera Sacha Sauda with the chants of "Dhan Dhan Satguru, Tera Hi Asra" (Blessed are you the true guru, you are my shelter). In this process it lost the basic mission of reforming Sikhs. Lastly non-Sikhs hugely outnumber the Sikhs.
All went well in the first decade. Trouble germinated in 2002 when the than Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Union Home Minister L. K. Advani, respective Chief Ministers of the states of Punjab and Haryana, NHRC and the Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court received an anonymous letter of a women narrating her ordeal of sexual exploitation by the Baba, then 35. She also mentioned other cases. No Politician moved. However, the Hon. Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana HC took cognisance and sought a report from the District and Sessions Judge of Sirsa Justice MS Sular. After receiving his report which also recommended a probe by a central agency, the High Court ordered the CBI on 24 September 2002 to probe into the allegations leveled in the letter. CBI registered a case of rape, criminal intimidation and insult to the modesty of a woman and started probe.
In a related case a local Journalist Ram Chander Chhatrapati was murdered in Sirsa in broad day light on the road in front of his office. He had published a report on the murder of Dera manager Ranjit Singh. He also published the anonymous letter of the woman in his tabloid, “Poora Sach”. The CBI also investigated this case and is in advance stage in the CBI court.
As the CBI started investigations, than Haryana Chief Minister O. P. Chautala rushed to Supreme Court to stop the probe. SC rejected the plea. Politicians of all shades exerted huge pressure on the CBI and the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh to save the Baba. P.M. called the CBI Chief who apprised him of the case. After seeing the file Dr. Singh gave him free hand, which took five years to complete the enquiry and filing the case. Out of 18 women, who conceded the ordeal before the CBI only two could muster the courage for recording their statements before a Magistrate. One woman graphically narrated her ordeal. Second also narrated her full story but said, “Baba did that to purify her.” Baba used code word of “Mafi” for his act.
After some 200 hearings, on 25 August 2017, a special CBI court held Gurmeet Singh guilty in sexual assault cases on two counts of raping the sadhvis in his chamber called “the Gupha”.
As he was taken into custody, more than 200,000 people who had gathered near the court premises started violent protests. Reports indicate of widespread vandalism in many cities. At least 38 people were reportedly killed and another 300 injured.
On 28 August 2017, the CBI court sentenced him to a total of 20 years in jail, 10 years for each of the two rape convictions to be served consecutively. As the Judge in Rohtak Jail was pronouncing quantum of punishment, the man, who had never learned to lament and correct his behavior, came down on his knees. He was crying like orphaned child cried and bagging the judge, “Mujhe Maaf Kar do, mujh se ghalti hogyi (forgive me, I did a mistake).”
The smoke screen before his eyes suddenly disappeared. Everybody around him became the other. Even his legs refused to support him. He fell on the ground yelling. The true senses did return to him and was sensing whatever immoral he did. This reminds us the call of Allah,
“When the earth is shaken to her (utmost) convulsion, And the earth throws up her burdens (from within), And man cries (distressed): 'What is the matter with her?' On that Day will she declare her tidings: For that thy Lord will have given her inspiration. On that Day will men proceed in companies sorted out, to be shown the deeds that they (had done). Then shall anyone who has done an atom's weight of good, see it! And anyone who has done an atom's weight of evil, shall see it. (Surah al- Zilzal 99)
The story of Gurmeet Singh is yet unfolding.  Search operation is going on in his Dera and other places. His most trusted people have disappeared. Many his sins are crumbling out from the earth. All the events of his past, present and future may not be meaningful for us. But the lesson it gives to mankind is enough to shake our conscious. Are we ready for the day of the judgment, when our all deeds will be before us and the repentance on that day will not be of any help, as did not help Gurmeet in CBI court!! May Allah help us to correct ourselves before the our heart stops pumping and eyes become blind. Allahummaghfirly Zambi.

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