Rape victims seek life term for Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh
Chandigarh: Two female disciples who were raped by self-styled godman Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh have moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking life imprisonment for him as the 20-year jail term given was not enough.
In their petition filed before the High Court here, the two sadhvis, who were raped by the godman in 1999, 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 court had said the 10-year prison term will run consecutively (one after another).
Ram Rahim was sentenced to 20 years rigorous imprisonment and fined over Rs 30 lakh after being convicted by the CBI special court in Panchkula on two counts of rape of female disciples.
The victims pointed out in their petition 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.
They pointed out that a lesser punishment would not achieve "the ends of justice".
"Gurmeet is head of religious organisation 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.
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Under new provisions introduced after the 2012 gang rape and murder of Nirbhaya in Delhi, a person in position of power and trust faces a maximum of life imprisonment for rape.
Ram Rahim's rape conviction led to violence in Panchkula and Sirsa in Haryana, leaving 38 people dead and another 264 injured. Isolated incidents of violence were also reported from Delhi and several places in Punjab.