- Title: Indian court jails self-styled "godman" for 20 years for rape
- Date: 28th August 2017
- Summary: ROHTAK, HARYANA, INDIA (AUGUST 28, 2017) (ANI - NO ACCESS MEDIACORP/BBC) ***WARNING CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** VEHICLES CARRYING INDIA'S FEDERAL INVESTIGATIVE AGENCY'S JUDGES GOING TOWARDS SUNARA JAIL POLICEMEN AND OFFICIALS GATHERED ON ROAD LEADING TO SUNARA JAIL VARIOUS OF DEFENCE LAWYER S.K. GARG NARWANA STANDING WITH HIS COLLEAGUES (SOUNDBITE) (English) DEFENCE LAWYER S.K. GARG NARWANA, SAYING: "He (Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh) has been sentenced for 10 years for one offence and again, he has been sentenced for 10 years in the other offence." BARNALA, PUNJAB, INDIA (AUGUST 28, 2017) (ANI - NO ACCESS MEDIACORP/BBC) ARMED SOLDIERS OF INDIA'S RAPID ACTION FORCE (RAF) WALKING WITH POLICEMEN ARMED RIOT POLICE WALKING VARIOUS OF PARAMILITARY SOLDIERS WALKING PAST CLOSED SHOPS VARIOUS OF RIOT POLICE WALKING CHANDIGARH, PUNJAB, INDIA (AUGUST 28, 2017) (ANI - NO ACCESS MEDIACORP/BBC) (SOUNDBITE) (English/Hindi) CHIEF OF INDIA'S NORTHERN PUNJAB PROVINCE, AMARINDER SINGH, SAYING: "There is no report of any violence or any untoward incident as of now and I hopeâ€¦ We are maintaining curfew in one or two places tonight and (Hindi) tomorrow morning, we will review and probably lift them." SIRSA, HARYANA, INDIA (AUGUST 28, 2017) (ANI - NO ACCESS MEDIACORP/BBC) A PARKED POLICE CAR VARIOUS OF ARMED PARAMILITARY SOLDIERS ON GUARD RAF SOLDIERS STANDING RANCHI, JHARKHAND, INDIA (AUGUST 28, 2017) (ANI - NO ACCESS MEDIACORP/BBC) (SOUNDBITE) (English) ONE OF INDIA'S LEADING WOMEN'S RIGHTS ACTIVISTS, BRINDA KARAT, SAYING: "And I hope that there will be an appeal against this and I believe that he (Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh) should get the maximum punishment for rape." GURGAON, HARYANA, INDIA (FILE - FEBRUARY, 2015) (ORIGINALLY 4:3) (ANI - NO ACCESS MEDIACORP/BBC) SINGH STEPPING OUT OF HIS CAR AMID CHANTS FROM SUPPORTERS SINGH WALKING AND WAVING AT HIS SUPPORTERS MUMBAI, MAHARASHTRA, INDIA (FILE - SEPTEMBER 8, 2015) (ORIGINALLY 4:3) (ANI - NO ACCESS MEDIACORP/BBC) SINGH WALKING ONTO STAGE, GREETING SUPPORTERS AND SITTING DOWN AT A PROMOTIONAL EVENT FOR HIS FILM "MESSENGER OF GOD"
- Embargoed: 11th September 2017 15:56
- Keywords: Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh conviction sentencing Indian godman jailed Dera Sacha Sauda Punjab Haryana violence
- Location: VARIOUS, INDIA
- City: VARIOUS, INDIA
- Country: India
- Topics: Crime/Law/Justice,Judicial Process/Court Cases/Court Decisions
- Reuters ID: LVA0016W2NIO7
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: A judge sentenced self-styled "godman" Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, whose followers went on a deadly rampage after he was convicted of rape last week, to 20 years' jail on Monday (August 28).
Singh's case dates back to 2002 when two women followers accused him of rape at the headquarters of his Dera Sacha Sauda in the town of Sirsa.
Defence lawyer S.K. Garg Narwana said Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh would serve two consecutive 10-year-terms for the two rape convictions.
Hundreds of followers went on the rampage when Singh was convicted on Friday (August 25), with at least 38 people killed and more than 200 injured.
To avoid a repeat of the incidents, tens of thousands of police enforced a lockdown in large parts of the northern states of Haryana and Punjab where Singh, 50, has a mass following.
Police in Haryana issued orders to shoot protesters on sight ahead of the sentencing and ordered the hearing to be carried out inside the prison where Singh was being held.
The case has highlighted the Indian heartland's fascination with spiritual gurus, who enjoy immense influence for their ability to mobilise millions of followers.
Singh, also known as the guru of bling for the bejewelled costumes he wears in self-produced films, claims more than a million followers on his website.
In 2015, Singh started a film franchise portraying him as MSG or "Messenger of God", performing miracles, preaching to thousands and beating up gangsters while singing and dancing.
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