Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, who was convicted in a rape case today, has been receiving favours from the Manohar Lal Khattar government of Haryana earlier.
Just three months back, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar had announced tax exemption for six months on movie ‘Jattu Engineer’ featuring Ram Rahim Singh.
Khattar had announced the tax exemption at an event in Karnal in May. Earlier, the chief minister had started a cleanliness drive along with the dera chief.
Also, the state’s Health and Sports minister Anil Vij had donated Rs 50 lakh from his discretionary fund to the sect for promoting rural games.
At a sporting event organised by the dera at Sirsa in the past, Vij had said, “Dera Sacha Sauda is already promoting sports for a long time and now BJP government will promote all sports related activities by making 20 Olympic Nurseries.”
Vij had added, “He (Ram Rahim) is encouraging the games. Since the schools are also encouraging games here, I would like to donate Rs 50 lakh from my discretionary fund.”
Notably, all the games played at the dera academy have been created by Gurmeet Ram Rahim himself and are not played at national or international level.
Another Haryana Minister Manish Grover too had announced Rs 11 lakh to the dera sports village.
Ahead of assembly polls in 2014 in Haryana, the dera chief had extended support to the BJP.
After the special CBI court in Panchkula convicted the dera head in a 2002 rape case, Khattar appealed to the people of the state to maintain peace and harmony and not to allow themselves to be misled by rumours.
In a statement issued here today, the chief minister said some anti-social elements mixed with the followers of the dera chief and resorted to violence and disrupted the peace.
The court verdict against dera head triggered violence by his followers leaving 30 dead and over 200 injured.
The supporters of Dera chief also caused large-scale mayhem across Haryana, Punjab, Delhi and parts of UP burning vehicles, private properties, buses and trains. Taking cognisance of this widespread violence, Punjab and Haryana High Court on Friday decided to freeze the assets of Ram Rahim Singh in order to compensate the losses caused by his followers.
(With PTI inputs)