A year on, colossal empire of Prisoner No 8647 crumbles

With the arrest of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, the once-powerful Dera sect has fallen apart. PTI file photo

The roaring businesses - from Bollywood productions to consumer goods, theatre, mall, a high-end hotel, retail outlets, manufacturing units and more - once run by the jailed sect chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh are all crumbling faster than many would have imagined. The sect’s cinema hall in Sirsa that would not have missed a day without a full house showing Gurmeet Ram Rahim’s ‘flashy, boring’ movies is now a deserted place. It’s shut.

The sect’s mouthpiece daily newspaper (Sach Kahoo) hasn’t paid wages to its employees for months now. Over a dozen manufacturing units run by the sect have become largely non-operational. 

His sprawling sect headquarters in several hundred acres is in tatters with only a trickle of devotees still showing allegiance to the man who completed one year of his 20-year  jail term for rape of two of his disciples.

Inside the jail, the sect chief is Qaidi No. 8647. He works as a gardener tending to seasonal vegetables in the jail courtyard and is paid Rs 40 as daily wage. Sources said, the sect chief has lost several pounds of body weight. The usual beeline of politicians and high profile businessmen at the sect headquarters in Sirsa has all vanished. The sect runs repeat telecast of sermons of its jailed chief0 on the big screen inside for the devotees who reach the venue. Scores of shops in Sirsa and many in Panchkula that flaunted big pictures of the sect chief prominently on its walls have all been removed.

Family visits

The multi-speciality sect hospital, its three schools and two colleges are running under government control. Majority of the sect’s chief core team members are in jail facing criminal charges after violence consumed 40 lives in Panchkula and Sirsa soon after the sect chief was convicted last year. The family of the sect chief visited him on Rakshabandhan on Sunday.

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A year on, colossal empire of Prisoner No 8647 crumbles

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