Fresh conviction for jailed Indian godman over scribe murder
India's self-styled guru and spiritual leader Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh speaks prior to the release of his film 'MSG Messenger of God' II in New Delhi, India, Sep. 14, 2015. EPA-EFE/FILE/STR
Vehicles set on fire by suspected Dera Sacha Sauda sect members during riots in Panchkula, India, Aug. 25, 2017. EPA-EFE/FILE/STR
New Delhi, Jan 11 (efe-epa).- A court in India on Friday found a self-styled Indian godman guilty of the murder of a journalist in 2002.
Three other accused were also convicted in the case in a trial that took place amid steep security, as serious riots had broken out in the country following Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh's sentencing in a rape case in 2017.
"I thank the judge who has come as a God for us and has given us justice in the case of my father's death. I hope that he is given the strictest punishment. We are demanding capital punishment. Such a person does not have the right to live and should be hanged," Anshul Chhatrapati, son of slain journalist Ram Chander Chhatrapati, told the media after the verdict.
Singh was sentenced to 20 years in prison for raping two of his disciples.
Chhatrapati was shot in Oct. 2002 after he exposed in a local daily cases of sexual abuse perpetrated by Singh, who was the leader of the religious sect Dera Sacha Sauda (Place of the Real Truth), which has thousands of followers in India.
Singh attended the court hearing Friday via video conferencing to avoid possible disturbances in court.
Authorities had deployed heavy security measures in Panchkula and other areas of Haryana ahead of the verdict, said Panchkula city police commissioner Saurabh Singh.
The controversial guru has also been accused of ordering the castration of 400 of his followers, a case that is still pending trial.
The court will pronounce the sentence on Thursday.