Aug 29, 2017

'Rockstar Baba' jailed for rape

A controversial Indian guru convicted of rape on Friday has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Indian media reported that Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh's followers set a vehicle alight just ahead of sentencing.

Violence after Friday's verdict in Panchkula in northern Haryana state had killed some 38 people.

The self-styled holy man was found guilty of sexually assaulting two female followers and jailed for 10 years for each, to run consecutively.

There were initial reports of a 10-year sentence but his lawyers confirmed the sentencing was of consecutive, not concurrent, terms.

Prosecutors had called for a life sentence.

A lawyer for the victims said 50 women had come forward with allegations of rape and they would be seeking further investigation in the case.

"We believe there are at least 48 more victims who were sexually abused and who may have been killed or are too scared to come out and testify against Ram Rahim," lawyer Utsav Singh Bains told AFP.

Ram Rahim Singh denies charges of murder in two cases due to be heard next month.

Known as "rockstar baba" and "guru of bling" because of his shiny, colourful clothes, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh performs at rock concerts, acts in films and even has his own line of food products.

He is the controversial leader of the Dera Sacha Sauda sect, which claims to have 60 million followers around the world.

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