The Haryana government on Tuesday imposed Section 144, which prohibits the assembly of four or more people, across the state till August 25, as a special court is set to pronounce its verdict in a sexual exploitation case against Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh (pictured above) on Friday.

Haryana Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Ram Niwas said people will be barred from carrying sticks or any other weapons at the Naam Charcha Ghar in Panchkula, where Dera followers have gathered. The state has also requested the Centre for 115 additional paramilitary forces, and is closely monitoring “inter-state and inter-district activities”, PTI reported.

Deputy Commissioner of Police of Panchkula Ashok Kumar said the government had also imposed a two-day ban from Thursday on the movement of vehicles around the court complex. However, thousands of Dera followers have gathered at the Naam Charcha Ghar despite the police claiming that they are restricting such travel, reported The Indian Express.

The case against Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was registered in 2002 based on two anonymous letters that claimed he had sexually exploited two female followers. Singh has denied the allegations.