Each time `Godman' visited Kerala, controversies followed

Kozhikode: Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, head of the Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda, who is awaiting the verdict of special CBI court at Panchkula in a sexual exploitation case, is not a stranger to Keralites.

The ‘rock star’ godman had visited the state several times before with his disciples in the pretext of conducting spiritual discourses. However, the purpose of visits was mostly related to his real estate activities.

His high-voltage visits with a crowd of over 500 disciples had always left Keralites wonderstruck. Not only that, each of his visits were embroiled in controversies.

During Ram Rahim’s visit to Munnar in 2010, his escort vehicles hit two people in two separate occasions. In both the instances, the vehicles did not stop. One of the injured had suffered a fracture on his right leg.

Finally, the local people stopped the vehicle and the Dera Sacha Sauda staff had to take the man to the hospital. They also promised to bear the hospital expenses.

The second accident happened on the way to Kochi from Munnar when one of his escort vehicle hit another person in Kattappana. The vehicle, which again failed to stop, was taken into custody by the police.

On reaching Kochi, Ram Rahim and his disciples went on a shopping spree in the city, at MG Road and Oberon Mall. Police had a tough time arranging security for the Dera Sacha Sauda chief, who comes under Z Plus category.

In 2012, he had stayed at Wayanad for a wellness treatment. At that time, he had visited Kozhikode. Bringing the entire city to a halt, he and his entourage visited noted shopping centres.

In addition to the NSG Commandos, police officials from Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan and Kerala, followed him in 30 vehicles to arrange security for the godman. Besides, a fire engine and a mobile hospital too escorted him.

Ram Rahim’s mother, wife and children had also accompanied him during the visit. The family was travelling in three bullet-proof Benz cars. He had also visited Kumarakom.

In his visit to Vagamon in 2014, the spiritual leader conducted medical camp and meditation classes. He also brought out a musical album at the time. He had then said that alcoholism is on the rise in the state. At Vagamon, he had claimed himself to be an agricultural expert and said will start an Ashram in Vagamon if his followers insist.

In 2015, he visited the venue of National Games upon the invitation of the Haryana swimming team. He then had an informal conversation with then Chief Minister Oommen Chandy at the venue.

During the visit, the Kerala government refused Z-plus security cover to the spiritual leader, saying that security will be given to the Dera chief only on payment basis for his "private visits".

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