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Increase Ram Rahim’s punishment to life in prison, rape victims plead in HC

Dera Sacha Sauda chief Ram Rahim was found guilty by a special CBI court of raping his two disciples and jailed for 20 years.

india Updated: Oct 04, 2017 20:57 IST
Shailee Dogra
Shailee Dogra
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh has been convicted for raping two women.
Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh has been convicted for raping two women.(AFP file photo)

The two women raped by Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh on Wednesday requested the Punjab and Haryana high court to enhance his punishment from 20 years in jail to life imprisonment.

The 50-year-old controversial sect chief was on August 25 found guilty of raping his two disciples that saw his followers resort to violence that left 41 people dead in Haryana, with most deaths reported from Panchkula.

“We have filed a revision petition on behalf of the rape victims seeking enhancement of sentence, which in a rape case is life term,” advocate Navkiran Singh said.

CBI judge Jagdeep Singh had on August 28 awarded 10 years in jail in each of the rape cases to the flamboyant sect leader. He was also fined Rs 30 lakh, with Rs 14 lakh to be paid to each of the two women.

“Gurmeet is head of religious organisation known as Dera had committee a grave breach of trust and he was called Pita ji (father),” said the petition.

“Abusing his position as religious head in whom the followers had blind faith committed rape with the victim who was under mental and physical control.”

A person in position of power and trust faces a maximum of life imprisonment for rape under the provisions that were introduced after the 2012 rape and murder of a young physiotherapist in Delhi.

A lesser punishment, the petition said, would not achieve “the ends of the justice”.

The latest blow to the dera chief comes a day after his “adopted” daughter Honeypreet was arrested from Punjab after a month-long hunt.

She faces charges of sedition, conspiring to free Singh and inciting violence.