The Listening Post - Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh: India's Godmen and the Media

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India is dealing with the fallout from an unusual kind of protest that took place last weekend. Thirty-eight people were killed during a violent demonstration against the conviction of the leader of a religious sect for raping two of his female followers.

Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, one of India's so-called "godmen", has as many as 60 million online devotees, and last weekend's protest was not the first to turn violent in his defence. The reporter who first revealed Singh's sexual misconduct was shot dead shortly after the story broke.

Singh is the leader of the Dera Sacha Sauda sect, and a flamboyant character who has used the Indian airwaves to build a one-man publicity machine. Rape allegations as well as suspicions that Singh ordered the killing of a journalist have been hanging over his head for 15 years. But that hasn't stopped Indian media outlets from giving him publicity.

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