Ram Rahim sentence: Black day for 6 crore followers, says dera mouthpiece
The paper also did its best to airbrush the embarrassing bit about the dera chief snivelling in the court. A report debunked the news that Ram Rahim had broken down during the proceedings. Calling this a pack of lies, the report insisted that the dera chief was calm and composed.Updated: Aug 29, 2017 19:19 IST
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
‘Crores of dera followers observe black day’. That was the double-decker headline of the daily ‘Sach Kahoon’, the mouthpiece of Dera Sacha Sauda, a day after sect head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Without mentioning the quantum of punishment, the report asserted that “six crore dera followers observed a black day.” The paper too was printed in black and white as a mark of mourning.
“Ro rahe shardhaloo keh rahe the ki unke satguru pooran hai aur unka apne satguru par vishvas atoot hai jise duniya ki koi bhi taakat dula nahin sakti (The weeping devout were saying that their satguru is perfect, and they have unshakable faith in him, a faith that cannot be shaken by any force in the world),” declared the report.
The followers, it said, refused to cook or eat as they were deeply saddened by the ruling while a box highlighted that the dera chief’s lawyer will appeal against the verdict in the high court.
The paper also did its best to airbrush the embarrassing bit about the dera chief snivelling in the court. A report debunked the news that Ram Rahim had broken down during the proceedings. Calling this a pack of lies, the report insisted that the dera chief was calm and composed.
It claimed the private TV channels had concocted the news as nobody inside the court had any access to mobiles, and couldn’t have relayed any information to the reporters waiting outside.
Another report blamed the police for the arson in Panchkula. The paper also carried a full-page package titled ‘Tapasya, aastha, manviya karam par kutharghat (A big blow to austerity, faith and social service)’.
Clearly trying to reassure the followers that it was life as usual at the dera, the page 1 also carried a column Anmol Vachan with a discourse by the dera chief titled ‘Sachi bhavna se nazar aata hai bhagwaan (True devotion can help you see God)’, besides news about the new chief justice of India and the victory of Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi assembly bypoll.
Ever since the verdict on Friday, Sach Kahoon has been on an overdrive to distance the dera from the violence that broke out in Panchkula on the day of the verdict. And while the 33 victims are all followers of the dera, the newspaper has been mum on their families or their last rites.
On Monday, the paper carried a full-page package demolishing the so-called “lies” against the dera. ‘A big conspiracy to malign the Dera Sacha Sauda’ screamed the main report on Page 3 with a box claiming that the dera followers had tried to stop the violence in Panchkula on Friday. A box called for a probe to find out the real culprits, while another one underlined how the dera was being targeted by the rest of the media, which had thrown all niceties to the winds while referring to the dera.
Quietly but firmly, the paper has been trying to shift the discourse to social work done by the dera. On the day of the sentencing, for instance, it carried a full-page photo feature on it.
Sach Kahoon has been coming out every day despite the power cuts, and the threat of army or police action in the dera. The sedition case against Dr Aditya Insan, who heads the daily, also doesn’t seem to have had any impact on the paper.
First Published: Aug 29, 2017 19:12 IST