CHANDIGARH, Sep 03 : The family of a girl, who was living in the Dera Sacha Sauda complex in Sirsa, has claimed that she has been missing after the rape conviction of sect chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim.
The family from Haryana’s Tiwala claimed that they had not been in touch with Shraddha since 2008.
Her cousin Parminder Singh said the last time they got information about her was from a Dera-run magazine which described her as a yoga practitioner.
The family along with other villagers are making frantic efforts to trace her in Sirsa.
“The caretaker of Sahe Baitiyan Baseera’s (home for minor girls), Poonam, said she left the Dera after the sect’s head was convicted,” Singh said, adding that he tried to get in touch with other officials of the Dera.
Ram Rahim was sentenced to 20 years in prison for raping two of his female disciples by a special CBI court on August 28.
“Shraddha was left in the Dera to pursue her education long time back. In 2008, we tried to meet her, but we were not allowed by the Dera functionaries,” he alleged.
“I tried to contact the officials of the Dera on their mobile numbers, but it was futile,” he said, adding that as the area around the sect’s headquarter was still under curfew, it was difficult to get inside.
“Eighteen girls, all of whom are minors, said that they were happy and did not want to come out. However, we persuaded the Dera management, and with their help brought them out,” Sirsa deputy commissioner Prabhjot Singh had said earlier.
The girls were sent to juvenile homes at different locations, including Sonipat, in Haryana, officials said.
“The girls said they were happy and safe inside. We found them in a healthy condition,” the deputy commissioner had said.
Like Shraddha’s family, relatives of Suchaitana and Aapar from Delhi are also eagerly waiting their return.
The Sirsa district administration is also arranging transport for followers of the Dera to return home.
Forty-one people died and several were injured in incidents of violence in Panchkula and Sirsa districts of Haryana after the conviction of the Dera chief.