The case against Ram Rahim Singh dates back to 2002, when a Dera sadhvi wrote an anonymous letter to then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, in which she said that she, and several other several female devotees, had been raped by the Dera chief.
Upon questioning, two sadhvis made rape accusations against Singh in their official statements to the police. Rahim Singh, whom you may remember from the home video he made about himself, MSG (which is supposed to somehow stand for Messenger of God), has denied the allegations, and also said he is not capable of engaging in physical relations, which I want to believe but don’t.
A verdict in this case is meant to be out today, which is why all of Haryana, Punjab and Chandigarh are apparently “in lockdown“.
To give you a sense of how tense the situation is (and how rabid his followers are), check out the arrangements the police have made to deal with the fall out of the verdict, and the possible violence that the two lakh Rahim Singh supporters that have gathered in Panchkula, Haryana for the verdict might engage in.
Between the 24th and 28th of August, at least 200 trains passing through Punjab and Haryana have been cancelled, causing flight ticket prices into Punjab to shoot up. Haryana state buses will also stop at Ambala instead of travelling further into Punjab. Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh also suspended mobile internet for 72 hours starting Thursday afternoon, so that people don’t spread fear and panic through social media services like WhatsApp.
Schools, colleges and offices in the area remain closed, police and para-military forces have been patrolling sensitive areas, and the actual army is on stand by. Police are also raiding the area for explosives and weapons, and a cricket stadium has been turned into a temporary jail to house his supporters in case they turn violent.
The mind boggles at how the world works, no? Two lakh people turn up to support and cheer a guy on during his rape trial, and every armed force in the country is on stand by to deal with it. How is it that we’re always so efficient at organising for the absolute worst things?