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Hundreds of Dera Sacha Sauda followers castrated in their ashram?

India has received news of the alleged forced castration of some 400 followers of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, the leader of the religious group Dera Sacha Sauda. One of the followers, Hans Raj Chauhan, age 34, who was a cult follower for 15 years, claimed that he and other followers had been castrated with the promise of some kind of elevated religious experience. He said that the castrations occur monthly in the ashram and that individuals who receive the "very painful" operation must rest for over a month afterward.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court said on Dec. 17, 2014 that such an incident should be considered inhumane even if Chauhan had given his consent, and on Dec. 23 the court ordered an investigation. Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh is also facing rape and murder charges. India Today reported: "Senior advocate Anupam Gupta, appointed amicus curiae by the court in the Rampal case, had told the court that the followers of Dera Sacha Sauda were being trained by Army men to handle arms."

"I would get my head chopped if I ever asked anyone either in Satsang or in alone to do so...not even once since 1948," Rahim Singh swore, denying the charges.

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