The CPI(ML) salutes the two women who courageously pursued the complaint of rape against Dera Saccha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim for 15 years, till he was convicted on 25 August 2017 by a CBI Court. The women had to watch Ram Rahim receive public political patronage from a range of powerful political parties and leaders; they had to watch a journalist who published their story be murdered – and yet they did not turn back.

The rioting that followed the rape conviction of Ram Rahim is squarely due to the deliberate collusion of the Haryana Government, which took no measures to prevent the gathering of a massive number of Dera supporters; nor to confiscate weapons which had been stockpiled in Dera centres all over the State. The High Court has rightly pulled up the Haryana Government for its collusion and has also had to remind the Prime Minister that he is “the PM of the country not of BJP” and that his Government too had a responsibility to prevent the rioting.

Ram Rahim has enjoyed patronage of the Congress and the INLD in the past. For the past several years, top BJP leaders have wooed him for electoral support in exchange for vast funds including public funds, as well as political patronage. In spite of the fact that Ram Rahim was accused of rapes and murders, none less than Narendra Modi and ML Khattar approached him for electoral support. Following the BJP victory at the Centre and in Haryana in 2014, a large number of BJP leaders went to pay obeisance to him. Several senior BJP Ministers of the Haryana Government contributed crores of rupees from public funds to the Dera – one of these Ministers announced that Section 144 in Panchkula did not apply to Dera supporters! Following his conviction, BJP MPs like Sakshi Maharaj and Subramaniam Swamy have shown public support for the rapist Ram Rahim, implying that he is a victim of a conspiracy. Sakshi Maharaj blamed the riots on the Court; while Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani blamed media for the riots.

The fact that supporters of a fraud godman are allowed to run riot and lay siege to two states with Governments to protest a rape conviction is a symptom of the BJP’s model of governance, which condones crimes and violence in the name of faith.

The Haryana Government must be held responsible for the utter breakdown of law and order and the rioting: Manohar Lal Khattar must resign. The Prime Minister also must be held accountable for patronising a man accused of rape and murder, and for his Government’s share in allowing a riot situation to develop in full public view while remaining silent and inactive on it.

Prabhat Kumar,

For CPI(ML) Central Committee