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Guru’s rape case: religious sects must be better controlled

Guru’s rape case: religious sects must be better controlled

In the wake of deadly riots this week in India by followers of celebrity godman ‘Saint’ Dr Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, 50,the Hindustan Times said in an op-ed yesterday that the authorities need to take a look cults such as his that become ‘almost uncontrollable’.

According to the BBC, at least 23 people were been killed in violent protests over the the guru’s rape conviction in north India. Angry supporters rampaged through Panchkula town, near Chandigarh, and about 2,500 of Singh’s followers were arrested.

Earlier, his devotees smashed cars and set media vans alight, protesting he was innocent.

More than 200,000 of his followers had flocked to the Chandigarh area ahead of Friday’s verdict.

Singh, who claims he has millions of disciples, was found guilty of raping two women at the headquarters of his sect, known as Dera Sacha Sauda, in 2002. Thousands of army, police and paramilitary forces were deployed. They fired tear-gas canisters and water cannon into the crowd to try to restore control.

Curfews have been imposed in several areas of Chandigarh city and across the state of Punjab, and Internet services were suspended.

Violence also spread to the capital, Delhi, where two train coaches were set on fire, according to reports.

Singh, 50, was taken into protective custody by the army following the conviction. The court is expected to sentence him on Monday.

The Hindustan Times said that the scenes that followed his conviction:

The scenes were very much like those in his much hyped films … there was such a violent frenzy from his followers that a massive mobilisation by the state had to be undertaken, with trains, schools and telephony being disrupted. Despite appeals for calm, his supporters continued their rampage after the verdict was announced. But the larger question is how these cults are allowed to become a law unto themselves and how it is that they seem to feel a sense of entitlement that they are above the law.

The paper pointed out that, in an earlier case, when the police tried to enter the ashram of a spiritual leader in Punjab who had been long dead but stored in a deep freezer by his followers in the belief that he was in deep meditation, they found themselves facing heavily armed supporters who held them off.

This sort of pile up of weapons is not uncommon in these ashrams, and they seem to stay under the radar of the authorities until it is too late. Often, the misdemeanors of these so-called godmen are kept under wraps thanks to the enormous political clout many of them have. In the case of Ram Rahim Singh, he issued calls to his lakhs of followers to support a particular political party in the last round of assembly elections in Punjab.

However, whether they enjoy popular support or not, they cannot be unaccountable to the law … Many of these cults have set up establishments on encroached land and that, too, hardly ever attracts any opprobrium. There have been mysterious deaths in many of them and allegations of sexual misconduct as in the case of Asaram Bapu who is now behind bars.

Asaram Bapu

If Ram Rahim Singh was as keen as he seemed to be that his followers should not create such a public nuisance on his account, he should have reined them in. The fact that the supporters were out in full force was indication that this had at least the tacit approval of Ram Rahim Singh. The authorities need to take a look at how such cults become almost uncontrollable and stop them from any unlawful activity like stockpiling arms from inception. Deploying the resources of the state to ensure peace over one man’s conviction seems not just a huge waste but inefficiency in managing law and order in the first place.

Who is Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh?

The controversial leader of the Dera Sacha Sauda sect, which claims to have 60 million followers around the world, took control of the sect – which describes itself as “a non-profit social welfare and spiritual organisation” – when he was 23

He performs at rock concerts, acts in films and even has his own line of food products.

He is known as “rockstar baba” and “guru of bling” because of his shiny, colourful clothes.

He as been accused of mocking Sikh and Hindu figures, and as been investigated for murder and rape, charges he denies

Has been also been accused of forcing followers to undergo castration to “get closer to God”.

Earlier this year he was awarded a doctorate from the UK-based University of World Records:

Hat tip: BarrieJohn

9 responses to “Guru’s rape case: religious sects must be better controlled”

  1. Brummie says:

    Humankind is susceptible to such charismatic charlatans, and always will be. We need to be educated to recognise this trait in ourselves for what it is, and know how to avoid it.

  2. barriejohn says:

    Brumie: Spot on! We evolved as a relatively weak and vulnerable animal due to our superior intelligence and cunning, and seem to have difficulty distinguishing at times between genuinely gifted individuals, such as Prof. Stephen Hawking, whose abilities greatly aid our survival and progress, and charlatans like this. Just look at the way that “magic” was used in the past, and still is in some primitive tribes, and the popularity of all sorts of superstitious nonsense like astrology in the developed world.

    http://www.hotspotsz.com/Cillas_psychic_help_(Article-17899).html

  3. Angela_K says:

    Sadly, there are millions of gullible and uneducated people out there just waiting for a soothsayer to come along. Knowledge is always the best defence.

  4. Brian Jordan says:

    Despite governmental protestations, there’s no suggestion that this “university” has been forced to close. How many fake courses is it running for illegal immigrants? Could it be a record number?

  5. Broga says:

    Religion: by far the best option for conning the gullible masses and making loads of loot.

  6. I think this guru was not the only religion founder guilty of rape. The Church kept portions of Marks gospel back for fear people would surmise that Jesus was homosexual upon reading them. We have the edited version of Mark. It is only in recent years that a fuller account, called the Secret Gospel, has been known of. It was claimed that there was a verse in the Secret Gospel running: “Naked man with naked man” which implied that Jesus was naked with a young man he sort of raised from the dead. Church Father St Clement of Alexandria alleged that it was a falsification. He did not give any evidence – he just made a bare assertion. He even ordered Christians who saw the complete gospel to deny any knowledge of this gospel, the secret gospel of Mark, even under oath and to promote the shorter version that we currently have instead. He was certainly capable of lying and this is the kind of man Christians honour as a saint. It is possible that the verse really did belong in the gospel. Clement when he advised lying, could have been lying about this. Also, when Clement wanted lies and secrecy to surround the content of the secret gospel it would make you think that his cleaner version of the secret gospel was not what he wanted to hide. He was embarrassed at the homosexuality of Jesus. The secret gospel says the young man begged Jesus to be with him that night and the young man came to Jesus wearing a robe over his naked body and Jesus taught him a mystery at night. The homosexual overtones are there.

    The Secret Gospel says Jesus seemingly raised a lad from the dead. Jesus took his hand. This was unnecessary for a shout had come from the tomb before Jesus went in indicating that the lad was not dead at all. The handholding was then probably sexual for it can’t otherwise be accounted for. Also if Jesus was single and unmarried he would not have been holding hands with men except in a romantic way! He would have known how onlookers would read this and didn’t care. That says it all. And we are told that the lad immediately loved Jesus upon looking at him. And wanted to be with him and the pair lived in his house for a while. This certainly does look like homosexuality being described euphemistically. Granted the word used for love is not the word for sexual love but for the sake of euphemism that fact may be irrelevant. What would looking have to do with loving outside of a sexual context. It is telling how the Jesus held the lad’s hand and how it is said the lad loved him upon looking upon him – sexual love and romantic love is caused by looking. No wonder the tale was taken out of Mark in the second century.

    In the Gospel of Mark, our current version, we read that a young man was following Jesus who had nothing on but a sheet over his naked body on the night Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane. That alone makes one suspicious. Jesus knew what the Jews would say for they hated him but that didn’t stop him being alone with this young man who was semi-naked. The crowd who came to arrest Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane found them alone. The young man was grabbed but he left and ran away naked leaving the sheet behind. They could have stopped him but why didn’t they? They must have deliberately removed the sheet though Mark says they pulled it off him accidentally. Why would they have let him go if they wanted to hold on to him? Mark is trying to cover something up. They wanted to see if the man had been indulging in sexual activity with Jesus. They must have learned what they were trying to find out when they let him go. They wanted to find Jesus guilty of this crime and they did. Was the man so young that the crime would have been paedophilia? Was that why they let him run away? He was too young to be charged. Maybe a couple of men did run after him and arrest him.

    But it might be objected that when they let the young man run off they had found nothing to indicate anything indecent. But he was naked. They wanted people to see him fleeing from the scene to make a show of Jesus. They might have sought him out after that to punish him and especially if they knew he would not be too hard to find again. It was Jesus they were after for the time being. This doubtful for it was not hard to arrest two men. Nobody lets people who should and can be arrested run away. It looks like Jesus was tampering with boys,

  7. John the Drunkard says:

    ANOTHER ‘Secret Gospel?’

  8. barriejohn says:

    John the Drunkard: There were loads of them! People of that era were obsessed with “secrets”, especially the gnostics, whose influence on Christian theology is obvious, and there are several verses in the NT where the writers refer to some “mystery”which they alone have been empowered to reveal to the world. It makes their blatherings seem SO much more important!

    http://www.gospel-mysteries.net/secret-gospels.html