Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh (born 15 August 1967) is an Indian spiritual leader, social worker, actor, director and singer. He has been the head of the spiritual group Dera Sacha Sauda (DSS) since 23 September 1990. The Indian Express placed Singh 96th in their list of the 100 most powerful Indians of 2015 because he has about five crore devotees and several politicians seek his blessings before polls.
Singh has also been involved in controversies. Mainstream Sikh leaders have accused him of insulting their faith. He has also been accused of rape, murder and forced castrations. On 25 August 2017, he was convicted of rape by a special CBI court.
Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was born in August 1967 into a Jat Sikh family, at Sri Gurusar Modia village in Ganganagar district of Rajasthan. At the age of 7, he was initiated into the Dera Sacha Sauda sect by his predecessor Shah Satnam Singh.
On 23 September 1990, Shah Satnam held a satsang where he publicly conferred sainthood and succession of the spiritual leadership upon Gurmeet Ram Rahim.He is married to Harjeet Kaur and has three daughters and a son. They all use Insan as their last name. His son Jasmeet is married to the daughter of Harminder Singh Jassi, a Punjab Congress leader. His adopted daughter Honeypreet Insan is a movie actress and director.
Ram Rahim was educated in a school in his village of Sri Gurusar Modia.
Singh is known for political clout, as his Dera has a large number of followers among Dalits and Other Backward Classes. His Dera Sacha Sauda is the only among the varoius Deras, which openly asks its supporters to vote for particular political parties.
Singh originally supported the Indian National Congress, whose government provided him with a Z+ Security status reserved for those VIPs with the most threat to their lives.Singh’s son is married to the daughter of the Congress leader Harminder Singh Jassi. The Dera Sacha Sauda supported Congress in the 2007 Punjab state elections, and helped the party take control of the Malwa region. Before the 2012 Punjab state elections, the Congress leader Amarinder Singh, his wife Preneet Kaur and his son Raninder Singh visited Singh, asking him to extend his support to Congress.However, Dera’s support to Congress alienated the party’s Sikh vote bank. In the 2012 elections, Congress performed poorly, and Jassi lost the election. The poor performance of Congress in Malwa in 2012 was seen as a signal of the downfall of Dera’s political power.
Before the 2014 Haryana state elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Narendra Modi praised Singh in order to attract the Dera Sacha Sauda followers.Singh supported the BJP in the state elections, thus helping BJP form a non-coalition government in the state for the first time.In February 2015, his organisation openly supported BJP in Delhi elections, saying that he has over 20 Lakh followers in Delhi.His organization supported BJP in the Bihar assembly election in 2015, and nearly 3000 Dera followers campaigned for BJP in the state. In 2016, the Haryana sports minister Anil Vij announced a 5 million grant to the Dera for promoting sports, in Singh’s presence, leading to a controversy.
Ram Rahim has organised drives for blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol screening that have been recognized by Guinness World Records. In association with the American Society of Echocardiography, he also organized the world record for “Most Cardiac Echo Tests”.On 21 September 2011 in New Delhi, Ram Rahim initiated a series of sanitation drives and also pledged his support to the Central Government’s campaign. As of 2016, about 30 Mega Cleanliness Campaigns have been conducted in several states of India.On 22 May 2012 Ram Rahim laid the foundation of the Shah Satnam ji Super Speciality Hospital at Sirsa. He established a specialised disaster relief and welfare agency called Shah Satnam Ji Green-S Welfare Force Wing in 2001. Especially in the aftermath of the Odisha cyclone and Gujarat earthquake.He was apparently also working against cow slaughter.