Pouring donations helped Dera Sacha Sauda head set up multi-crore empire
“Several people donated their agriculture land along the highways for setting up naam charcha ghars (prayer centres). These people went beyond their means to seek the blessings of guruji,” said one young dera follower from Kurukshetra.Updated: Sep 02, 2017 16:20 IST
Now jailed, Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh took advantage of his tens of thousands of blind followers, and their unwavering devotion to build properties of several crores and set up a huge business empire.
The dera head owned properties worth several crores in northern districts of the state, and most of these properties were set up with the donations given by his followers. Several dera followers told HT that they did everything to appease their ‘pitaji’ as they could not disobey his directions.
“Several people donated their agriculture land along the highways for setting up naam charcha ghars (prayer centres). These people went beyond their means to seek the blessings of guruji,” said one young dera follower from Kurukshetra.
“We purchased around one acre land and set up a naam charcha ghar at Radaur in Yamunanagar district by our own and the property was registered in the name of the dera,” said another follower, on condition of anonymity.
The followers said they were told to read the dera mouthpiece “Sach Kahoon” that carried sermons of the dera head. The devotees said that they were even asked to send the old copies of the daily to the dera, so that the paper could be recycled. Moreover, the followers used to purchase the vegetables and fruits grown in the dera farmhouse at double the market rates, as they believed that vegetables grown in the dera imbibed the blessings of their guruji.
Interestingly, most of the followers of Ram Rahim belonged to the backward communities. They used to perform sewa (voluntary service) at the dera, for free, at least for one month in a year.
Talking to Hindustan Times, officers of the district administrations who were engaged in assessment of the properties said that all the properties are registered in the name of Dera Sacha Sauda, Sirsa.
Dera followers facing flak
Meanwhile, dera followers are now facing criticism from the people for their blind faith on their pitaji.
“Wherever I go people start slamming our guruji and they even misbehave with us, if we try to speak in his favour. We have even removed lockets of our guruji to avoid facing wrath of the people,” said Amit Kumar from Mirzapur village of Kurukshetra district. “What is the fault of a true follower? But, the violence was wrong,” he added.