An Indian guru who’s already in jail for rape has been convicted for the 2002 homicide of a journalist.
Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, chief of the Dera Sacha Sauda sect, was given a 20-year sentence in 2017 for raping two feminine followers.
He can be sentenced for the homicide on 17 January.
Newspaper editor Ram Chander Chhatrapati was shot lifeless after exposing abuse at Dera’s headquarters within the north-western metropolis of Sirsa.
Three different males have been additionally convicted of Chhatrapati’s homicide – Kuldeep Singh, Nirmal Singh and Krishan Lal.
The self-styled holy man appeared on the court docket in Panchkula in Haryana state via a video hyperlink from his jail.
Throughout the trial, safety was stepped up throughout the state and in components of Punjab – the place most of Dera’s followers reside.
Violence erupted after the sect chief’s rape conviction in August 2017, which resulted within the deaths of 38 individuals.
Quickly afterwards, about 50 different girls got here ahead with their very own allegations about sexual abuse within the sect.
Ram Rahim Singh, 51, had lengthy painted himself as a pious non secular chief, encouraging followers all around the world to take vows of abstinence and celibacy.
However this facade began to slide in 2002, with the publication of a letter in an area newspaper.
The article was written by an nameless follower of Ram Rahim Singh, and revealed by Mr Chhatrapati in his Hindi-language newspaper Poora Sach – “The Full Reality”.
It described cases of sexual abuse on the sect.
Anshul Chhatrapati, the late editor’s son, told The Print that his colleagues warned his father on the time to watch out, as a result of “somebody will shoot you in the future”.
To this, he reportedly replied: “An actual reporter takes the bullet, not a shoe.”
5 days later, on 24 October 2002, Dera Sacha Sauda followers shot Mr Chhatrapati exterior his dwelling.
Lower than a month later, Mr Chhatrapati died – however the letter revealed in Poora Sach had already sparked a significant investigation into abuse on the sect.
Anshul, who was 21 when his father died, took over the working of the newspaper, and pushed for rape and homicide prices to be introduced towards Ram Rahim Singh.
“My father sacrificed his life for fact,” he mentioned within the 2017 interview. “I couldn’t have let his sacrifice go waste.”