New Delhi: BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj appeared to defend Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh after his conviction in a rape case by a CBI court on Friday when he said one person is alleging sexual exploitation, but why those crores of devotees are not being heard. In a statement to news agency ANI, the BJP MP asked: “One person alleging sexual exploitation but crores stand with him today, why those crores of people are not being heard?”
“If even bigger incidents take place, court will also be responsible not just Dera people,” he said, adding that “Yojnabaddh tareeke se Bhartiya sanskriti ko badnaam karne ka shadyantra hai (It’s a well-planned conspiracy to tarnish the image of India’s culture)”.
More than a lakh followers of Ram Rahim had gathered in Panchkula ahead of the verdict and as the court convicted the Dera chief, his supporters threw stones, smashed and burned vehicles and trains and clashed with police in the city, about 11 km from Chandigarh. The Army was called in to regain control of Panchkula and also in Sirsa, where too there were clashes and several buildings were set on fire.
Ram Rahim’s followers also set fire to two train stations in Punjab and burned two buses and two train coaches in Delhi. The capital is on high alert and large gatherings have been banned in several areas.
The Dera chief was flown out by helicopter to Haryana’s Rohtak where he has been lodged in a makeshift jail. He had arrived in Panchkula today in a 200-car convoy, traveling in bullet proof car from Sirsa. He will be sentenced on Monday.