The insidious mix of religion and politics has corroded India’s democracy. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has publicly acknowledged his help. Manohar Lal Khattar, the chief minister of Haryana, made the rape accused a brand ambassador. To be fair, politicians from almost all parties have courted and lionised him….writes Dr Kailash Chand
Dera chief, self-proclaimed Godman, Gurmeet Singh was sentenced to 10 years jail for rape. His conviction had led to large-scale violence in Panchkula and Sirsa besides at other places in the region, which left 36 people dead and around 260 injured. As Indians, will we finally, see the fraud these Godmen commit on innocent, ignorant fellow citizens and would we stop investing in these fraudsters who market synthetic spirituality?
Gurmeet Singh, a flamboyant, self-proclaimed guru “Ram Rahim” was found guilty of raping two of his followers. The case took 200 sittings of the court and 15 years to reach this conclusion. Gurmeet Singh is a man of enormous wealth and influence with political connections across parties. The cult he heads, a sect called Dera Sacha Sauda, is headquartered, in the northern state of Haryana in the city of Sirsa.
Within half-an-hour of the guilty verdict, Panchkula was burning, despite the presence of a large number of security men, who apparently had no orders to react. Within a few hours the Panchkula hospital turned into a morgue. Officials were seen running away from the scene, in a shocking repeat of the February 2016 Jat agitation.
The insidious mix of religion and politics has corroded India’s democracy. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has publicly acknowledged his help. Manohar Lal Khattar, the chief minister of Haryana, made the rape accused a brand ambassador. To be fair, politicians from almost all parties have courted and lionised him. As ex-chief minister of Punjab, Badal almost secured pardon for the Baba who has been excommunicated from the Sikh Panth. As ex-chief minister,Bhupinder Singh Hooda provided him Z-plus security. It was because of politicians that Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was able to build a spiritual empire. It is not just the Dera chief who has been declared guilty by the court; the entire political class that patronised him stands indicted.
If the Modi government wants to improve governance it must make a big push for police reforms, beginning with the states in which it is in power. As for the Khattar administration, it is becoming infamous for law and order failures – from the inept confrontation with followers of Rampal, another sect leader, in 2014 to the Jat quota agitation in 2016. Haryana is in crying need of credible and competent stewardship. It is too much to expect the politicians to apologise for cosying up to a rapist for electoral advantage and take responsibility for the large-scale bloodshed, arson and inconvenience to people.
Judiciary has done its job, would the duo of Modi and Amit Shah of BJP do theirs, by, sacking the chief minister, Khatter of Haryana state to atone for his political sins.