ALSO READGurmeet Ram Rahim sentencing: Why do people of Punjab, Haryana go to the Dera? Dera verdict: Ram Rahim promises to be present in court, appeals for peace Spirituality gone awry: What is Dera and what you should know about Ram Rahim Dera verdict: Army on standby; curfew imposed in Sirsa Dera faces leadership crisis post Ram Rahim's sentencing
The family of a girl, who was living in the Dera Sacha Sauda complex in Sirsa, has claimed that she has been missing after the rape conviction of the sect chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim. The family from Haryana's Tiwala claimed that they had not been in touch with Shraddha since 2008. Her cousin, Parminder Singh, said the last time they got information about her was from a Dera-run magazine which described her as a yoga practitioner. The family along with other villagers are making frantic efforts to trace her in Sirsa. "The caretaker of Sahe Baitiyan Baseera's (home for minor girls), Poonam, said that she had left the Dera after the sect's head was convicted," Singh said, adding that he tried to get in touch with other officials of the Dera. Ram Rahim was sentenced to 20 years in prison for raping two of his female disciples by a special CBI court on August 28. "Shradhha was left in the Dera to pursue her education long time back. In 2008, we tried to meet her, but we were not allowed by the Dera functionaries," he alleged. "I tried to contact the officials of the Dera on their mobile numbers, but it was futile," he said, adding that as the area around the sect's headquarter was still under curfew, it was difficult to get inside. Sources said that around 29 minor girls were in the Dera-run 'Sahe Baitiyan Baseera'. "Eighteen girls, all of whom are minors, said that they were happy and did not want to come out.
However, we persuaded the Dera management, and with their help brought them out," Sirsa Deputy Commissioner Prabhjot Singh had said earlier. The girls were sent to juvenile homes at different locations, including Sonipat, in Haryana, officials said. "The girls said they were happy and safe inside. We found them in a healthy condition," the deputy commissioner had said. Like Shradhha's family, relatives of Suchaitana and Aapar from Delhi are also eagerly waiting their return. The Sirsa district administration is also arranging transport for followers of the Dera to return home. Forty-one people died and several were injured in incidents of violence in Panchkula and Sirsa districts of Haryana after the conviction of the Dera chief.
(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)