Christians in India Fear Riots, Attacks from Convicted Rapist Guru Gurmeet's Followers

Published 05 September 2017  |  
Wikipedia.
Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh

Christians in Haryana and the Punjab are living in fear of violent attack from adherents of the infamous Guru Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, a convicted rapist.

The disruption arose when the controversial Indian guru leader of the Dera Sacha Sauda sect, on Aug. 25, was sentenced to 20 years of imprisonment for the sexual assault of two women followers of his sect. Judge Jagdeep Singh said the convicted felon Gurmeet deserved the "maximum punishment" because he had "projected himself as a Godman and taken undue advantage of his position and authority."

Pr Harjot Singh, a head officer for the British Asian Christian Association in India, explained the aftermath of the arrest of Gurmeet, according to Pakistan Christian Post.

"On hearing about the conviction, followers of Gurmeet rioted in Panchkula [in the Haryana district]. 32 people were killed by fanatical zealots of the sect and an estimated 350 were injured with further riots expected. Rampagers smashed cars, homes and businesses and then set them alight," said Singh.

"Christian leaders were warned about attacks on churches should Guru Gurmeet be convicted. The men who made the threats were very serious and extra police protection was provided to religious buildings which prevented a crisis...," he continued.

Christians are an easier target for thugs like these who have close links with the Hindu fundamentalist groups.

"I call upon Christians across the world to pray for a restoration of peace in India and an end to the unnecessary violence we have seen in recent days," he added.

Gurmeet was found guilty of sexually assaulting two female followers from 1999 to 2002, with prosecutors calling for a life sentence.

Judge Singh termed him a 'wild beast' who deserved no mercy, adding that that the assault of his follower was 'custodial rape' and he 'deserved maximum punishment'.

Gurmeet, a self-styled god man with millions of followers, will have to attend court hearing in Sept. regarding charges of two murders of whistleblowers who first exposed rape allegations against him.

"It seems incredulous that religious leaders could have such power and authority enabling them to thwart justice for so long," said Wilson Chowdhry, chairman, British Pakistani Christian Association.

"Guru Gurmreet used the adoration of his followers to propel himself to a god-like status, a position he used to coerce young women into a cycle of sexual abuse based on fear of physical and economic ramifications, or being ostracized by their own families - his devotees."

"He expounded virtues of chastity, humility, modesty and self-sacrifice yet himself lived a glamorous, self-aggrandizing and frivolous life. Unchecked by Government officials and with no authoritative or guiding body to restrain his egotistical proclivity he became a danger to the people he was meant to serve," he continued.

"Guru Gurmreet's followers mainly consists of downtrodden, deprived members of the lower castes in India, people disenfranchised by a hierarchical culture in which conventional politics and faith fail them. Their vulnerable position leads them to join unconventional faiths and groups where they find acceptance and perceived equality," he added.

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