Anshul Chhatrapati, who fought the might of the Dera chief for nearly 17 years, says men like Gurmeet Ram Rahim have ‘no right to live in a civilised society’.
Panchkula: Anshul Chhatrapati, son of murdered journalist Ram Chander Chhatrapati, has demanded the death sentence for Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim who, along with three Dera employees, was found guilty of the murder by a CBI special court in Panchkula, Haryana, Friday.
The quantum of punishment will be pronounced on 17 January.
While special CBI judge Jagdeep Singh read out his judgment, the Dera chief attended the proceedings through video-conferencing from a jail in Rohtak, where he is serving a 20-year sentence for raping two woman devotees.
Ram Chander Chhatrapati ran a newspaper called Poora Sach, and dared to publish an anonymous letter against the powerful Dera chief that gave details of exploitation and rape. He was shot at outside his residence in Sirsa in October 2002, and after battling for his life for weeks, he died in November 2002. A case of murder against the Dera chief was registered in 2003.
A long, hard battle
Anshul has fought the court battle against the powerful ‘godman’ for 17 years, and said that finally, his and the entire family’s prayers have been answered. “It was an extremely emotional moment for the entire family. We are thankful to the judge, who is god for us. Men like Gurmeet Ram Rahim have no right to live in a civilised society, and we demand that he be hanged to death,” he said outside the Panchkula court.
The slain journalist’s family had continued to take out the newspaper, despite the overwhelming clout of Ram Rahim’s Dera in the Sirsa area.
The other three convicted in the case are shooters Kuldeep and Nirmal, as well as Dera manager Krishan Lal.
Same place, but no violence this time
Last year in August, Ram Rahim was convicted by the same court, and even the same judge. But, following his conviction, Dera followers who had gathered in large numbers outside the court in Panchkula resorted to violence across Punjab and Haryana.
As many as 30 Dera followers were killed in police firing as the state security agencies tried to rein in the violence.
In order to avoid a similar situation, for Friday’s verdict, the Dera chief was allowed to attend through video-conferencing.
The Haryana Police had made elaborate arrangements at the court complex, as also the Dera headquarters in Sirsa, to ensure that law and order is maintained.
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