New Delhi: Leaders from various political parties on Monday welcomed the 20-year prison term given to Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh even as some Opposition leaders lashed out at the Haryana government for the violence that preceded the pronouncement of the sentence.
"We have seen this callous insensitivity, coupled with the mulish obstinacy in the face of the most unprecedented structures in the high court of the state. In any responsible sensitive form of governance, comments, not strictures of far less severity than we have heard in Haryana would have led to apologies, resignations and complete unconditional acceptance. Here it has had the opposite effect, that's the interesting part of it" said Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi.
"Because of worldwide condemnation, because of the high court strictures, because of our comments calling for the resignation, the reverse has happened, there is a hardening of positions," he said.
CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury said that the law of the land must be implemented, but expressed concerns over the violence after the court on 25 August held Ram Rahim guilty of rape.
"It is strange that despite the high court's directions, no stringent measures were taken to ensure there was no violence," he said.
The verdict on Friday had led to widespread violence in Punjab, Haryana, parts of Uttar Pradesh and even Delhi leading to the deaths of more than 30 people.
"The law has taken its course. It is a verdict on the charges of serious nature. One should respect the verdict. Somebody must be held responsible for the violence which preceded the verdict. Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar should have resigned by this time. His position has become untenable and he must quit," said CPI national secretary D Raja.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said the court has found Ram Rahim guilty and sentenced him.
"There is nothing for us to say other than asking people to maintain peace," he said.
"There is curfew in one or two places in Punjab and we have left it to the district administration to decide in a day or two when the time is right to lift the curfew," he added.
Both Haryana and Punjab are on high alert with elaborate security arrangements in place. Special CBI judge Jagdeep Singh passed the sentence in a makeshift court in the Sunaria jail where Ram Rahim, had been lodged since his conviction.
BJP leader Subramanian Swamy said that Ram Rahim's conviction was a message that no one is too big to be prosecuted.
He also said that it was unlikely that Rahim's 10-year term would be reduced on appeal. This was before the CBI court clarified the Ram Rahim has to serve two 10-year sentences in two rape cases thus making it 20 years in jail.
Swamy also lauded the CBI judge, who he said wasn't "cowered" by the magnitude of the case.
"I think it is a major victory after the triple talaq verdict and is a message for women's safety. Ultimately the public reaction was so strong that the government also had to move in," he said.
"We want to demonstrate that no matter how high you are the law is above you and we have seen victory of the law both in sessions court and in the high court. Now let him appeal and I don't think he will get any relief, he has to serve 10 years."
Swamy, however, said that in terms of "quantum of lawlessness" both Punjab and Haryana were equal, but as a BJP ruled state, it was the latter that faced the brunt of the criticisms.
Updated Date: Aug 28, 2017 19:40 PM