CHANDIGARH : “Bhagwan Krishan ke yahan 360 gopian thee jinse vo prem leela karte the. Phir bhi log unhe bhagwan mante hain, ye koi nai baat nahin” (Lord Krishna had 360 gopies and loved them daily. Yet people worship him as god, so it’s not a new thing). Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh had reportedly told this to one of his women disciples when she objected to his sexual advances.
The incident was mentioned in the anonymous letter written by a woman disciple of the dera in 2002 to the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and then chief justice of the Punjab and Haryana high court. It was this letter that eventually led to a CBI investigation into the sexual exploitation and rape allegations against the preacher.
As per the letter, written by a rape survivor claiming to be from Punjab, she became a ‘sadhvi’ (female disciple) because of her family, who were the staunch follower of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. According to her she was feeling proud when after two years of her stay in the dera at Sirsa, she was called by Maharaj ji (dera head) inside his gufa (underground living quarters).
“It was around 10 pm, when I enter the Gufa, Maharaj was sitting on a bed, holding remote of TV and watching an adult movie. A revolver was lying on the pillow side of his bed. I was stunned to see this and began to feel dizzy because I never imagined that Maharaj could be like this. He said he has bestowed upon me a special favour by choosing me as his dearest Sadhvi,” reads the letter.
According to the letter, when she objected to his gesture, Gurmeet said, “there is no doubt that I am God”. When the victim claimed to have asked whether the God indulges in such acts, the Maharaj said, “This is nothing new and has been going on for years together. Lord Krishna had 360 gopies and daily made love to them, yet the people worship him as God”.
As per the letter, the rape survivor was also threatened by Gurmeet that he would get her family thrown out of the dera and would eliminate them, if she did not submit to his will.
Thereafter, the author of the letter was raped by the dera head. She was raped repeatedly over the next three year. Further claiming sexual exploitation of other sadhvis by dera head, the letter had mentioned that a large number of women disciples were of the age of 35-40 years of age. They had crossed the age of marriage and had no other alternative except to live in such circumstances, the letter adds.
Some instances were also mentioned in the letter wherein the girls objecting to these activities inside the dera were beaten up and generally harassed.