An accused in the murder and rape cases pending in the court, head of the Sirsa-based Sacha Sauda Dera Gurmeet Ram Rahim did not wait for the court ruling before declaring himself the spiritual guru and the saviour of the humanity in his upcoming movie, but, sons of journalist Ramchander Chhatarpati, allegedly murdered on the orders of Ram Rahim, who also wanted to make a movie on their father, would like to wait till the CBI court decides the cases.
“A documentary on the sacrifice of our father for journalism and truth has always been on our mind. In fact, we have some facts which have not yet come to the open. We also do not want to disclose these facts right now as doing so could harm our case in the court. We have confidence in the court. So, we will wait for the judgment before making a movie on our father,” said Anshul Chhatrapati, elder son of Ramchander and editor of Poora Sach, an evening local newspaper of Sirsa, which is also the base of the dera head.
Ramchander Chhatarpati was allegedly murdered on the orders of Ram Rahim after he published an alleged letter from a Sadhvi of the dera about the alleged sexual exploitation of Sadhvis inside the dera premises. Ramchander had started ‘Poora Sach’ in 2000 and he was killed in 2002. His sons Anshul and Aribaman are now running the newspaper.
“Our movie will not only focus on our father, but also the aftermath of the incident. We will also show how every possible method was used to close our newspaper by the dera. Unlike the dera head’s production, the movie on my father will not be merely a work of fiction. The trailer of the dera head’s movie shows it is only a work of fiction and there is no reality in the script,” said Anshul.
“Initially, there was sudden increase in the circulation of our newspaper after the murder of my father. But, then dera people used every means to close our paper. First, they used peer pressure to force people to unsubscribe the paper. Then, they started lobbying against us among our advertisers, who were the main source of income. In their last attempt, they also threatened hawkers not to circulate our paper. Dera followers are told that it would be a sin to read our newspaper,” said Anshul.
He said, “I accept that all these tactics have hurt our paper badly. But, we are not deterred. The paper is still being published despite hardships.”
Asked if they attempted to align with Sikh organisations for financial and moral support, He said, “We were invited many a time to share the platform with Sikh organisations. But, then the dera has been repeatedly telling the court that some forces are lobbying against the dera. So, we avoided Sikh organisations to give no excuse to the drea. Also, our fight is for justice to our father and uphold the values of journalism. Sikh organisations have a different cause not related to us.”
AWARD IN NAME OF JOURNALIST
A Sirsa-based non-governmental organisation Samwad had also started a literary award in the name of Ramchander Chhatarpati six years ago. Veteran journalists Kuldip Nayar, Ravish Kumar and play writer Gursharn Singh are among the recipients of the award.