Mobs turned violent in Panchkula and parts of Haryana and Punjab after a special Central Bureau of Investigation court on Friday convicted Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in a rape case registered against him in 2002. The quantum of sentence will be decided on Monday, August 28, Live Law reported.
The Haryana Police have taken him into custody. He will be kept at the Indian Army’s Western Command temporarily and later shifted to the Ambala Jail.
The self-styled godman is accused of raping at least two of his female followers. The CBI filed a chargesheet against him in 2007. Under Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code, he faces seven years to life imprisonment for the crime.
Security forces in Haryana and Punjab are geared up to face the backlash of the verdict from Ram Rahim’s supporters, who have gathered in Panchkula in thousands since Monday. Dera followers on Friday tried to block Ram Rahim’s convoy as it reached the Panchkula court from Sirsa. Soon after the verdict was made public, supporters started attacking members of the media.
On Thursday, Ram Rahim had urged his supporters to maintain peace. The region is in lockdown, with over 400 paramilitary forces deployed in Chandigarh and Panchkula. The Punjab and Haryana High Court ordered the police to register FIRs against politicians who make provocative statements on the case to incite violence.
Prohibitory orders were put in place in Punjab and Haryana since Wednesday after lakhs of Singh’s supporters gathered at Panchkula before the verdict. Schools, colleges and shops are closed in both Chandigarh and Panchkula. Some 74 trains were cancelled to maintain law and order.