A BJP leader from Sirsa, Pawan Beniwal, was among the politicians who had gone to Dera Sacha Sauda to extend their support to the dera chief days ahead of the court verdict which held Gurmeet Ram Rahim guilty in a rape case. “We won’t hesitate spilling blood where dera followers sweat it out,” a video that has since gone viral on the social media purportedly shows Pawan Beniwal as saying while addressing dera followers in the presence of Ram Rahim.
Addressing the dera chief as “Pitaji”, Beniwal, amid clappings, is shown saying he has been getting his blessings for the past 15-20 years. Beniwal had contested Assembly polls against senior INLD leader Abhay Singh Chautala from Ellenabad as a BJP candidate in 2014 but lost. In 2016, the Khattar government appointed him chairman of the Haryana Seeds Development Corporation. When contacted, Beniwal said, “I only supported the good work done by the dera, not anything illegal.”
Beniwal said it was dera chief’s birthday function that day and he, like many others, just went to wish him. “On that day, he was not pronounced guilty by a court. Situation today is entirely different. I will never support violence of any kind,” he said. Haryana DGP BS Sandhu said they would probe every aspect related to the dera case and take action if someone is found guilty.
Akhil Bhartiya Punjabi Seni chief Rahul Setia, who had also delivered a speech to appreciate the works done by the dera, said they had gone to the dera 5-6 days ahead of the court verdict. Setia’s wife Sunita Setia had contested Assembly poll from Sirsa in 2014 on a BJP ticket but lost.