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Enhance Gurmeet Ram Rahim’s jail time to life term: Rape survivors

SNS | New Delhi |

Women followers raped by Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim approached the Punjab and Haryana High Court, to seek life imprisonment for the dera chief, on Wednesday.

According to media reports, two former followers of the dera asked the court to enhance his punishment from 20 years in jail to life imprisonment.

The court had said the 10-year prison term will run consecutively (one after another).

Dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim was sentenced to 20 years rigorous imprisonment and fined over Rs 30 lakh after being convicted by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) special court in Panchkula on two counts of rape of female disciples.

The victims pointed out in their petition that in rape cases where a person in a position of authority or power misuses that position to commit rape, he should be given life imprisonment.

They pointed out that a lesser punishment would not achieve “the ends of justice”.

“Gurmeet is head of religious organisation known as Dera and had committed a grave breach of trust and he was called Pitaji (father),” the petition stated.

“Abusing his position as religious head, in whom the followers had blind faith, he committed rape,” it added.

Under new provisions introduced after the 2012 gang rape and murder of Nirbhaya in Delhi, a person in position of power and trust faces a maximum of life imprisonment for rape.

Ram Rahim’s rape conviction led to violence in Panchkula and Sirsa in Haryana, leaving 38 people dead and another 264 injured. Isolated incidents of violence were also reported from Delhi and several places in Punjab.

(With agency inputs)