Monday, August 28, 2017 1:04 pm
An Indian court on Monday handed a 10-year jail sentence to self-styled ’godman’ Gurmeet Singh, whose followers went on a deadly rampage after he was convicted of rape.
“The court has ordered 10-year jail term for the accused,” Ram Niwas, Senior Bureaucrat in Charge of Law and Order in Haryana, said.
Supporters of Singh’s cult resorted to violent protests on Aug. 25, which killed at least 38 and injured more than 200 in Haryana state, after a local court found him guilty of raping two women in a case dating back to 2002.
The cult has a vast rural following in the states of Punjab and Haryana.
The rape case against Singh was brought after an anonymous letter was sent to then Prime Minister, Atal Vajpayee in 2002.
The author accused Singh of repeatedly raping her.
The case has highlighted the Indian heartland’s fascination with spiritual gurus, who enjoy immense influence for their ability to mobilise millions of followers, many of whom are frustrated by the shortcomings of the state.
Hundreds of troops patrolled a northern Indian city hit by deadly clashes that killed at least 38 people after thousands protested a court’s decision to convict a controversial spiritual leader of rape.
The 50-year-old Singh is known as the “guru in bling” for his bejewelled costumes.
He says he has more than a million followers.
In 2015, Singh started a film franchise portraying him as “Messenger of God”, performing miracles, preaching to thousands and beating up gangsters while singing and dancing.