Vrindavan, 2017.08.26 (VT): Riots erupted in Delhi, Haryana and Punjab after the controversial spiritual leader Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was convicted of rape on Friday. Singh, also known as “Rockstar Baba” or “The Guru in Bling”, has about fifty million followers. He is currently being held in a Haryana prison.
Singh has been found guilty raping two of his female followers. He is also under investigation for the murder of a journalist.
At least 31 have died and over 250 have been injured this weekend by Singh’s enraged followers. Bombs, AK 47s, axes and other weapons have reportedly been confiscated from members of Singh’s organization Dera Sacha Sauda. At the time of this article’s publishing, the rioting continues with busses and train carriages being mobbed and burnt. There are fears that the violence could escalate with Singh’s sentencing on Monday.
The religious community of Vrindavan is shocked and outraged by such violence in the name of Sanatan Dharma. Several well-known holy men of Braj have issued public statements condemning the violence.
Mahamandaleshwar Swami Bhaskaranand says, “Baba Ram Rahim is not a sant (holy man); it is wrong to call him a sant. If the court has convicted him, then he and his followers should accept the conviction. The manner in which his followers are spreading violence in the name of religion is condemnable. The people who are doing these things have been misled. This kind of violence is being spread by Singh’s organization by duping naive people.”
Mahant Swami Gyan Prakash Puri of Jagannath Temple says that Baba Ram Rahim’s guilt [of rape] is the court’s business to decide. But he and his organization are certainly guilty for the way violence is being spread in his name. The police administration are also responsible [for preventing such violence].
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