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Published On: Sat, Aug 26th, 2017

Dera chief Ram Rahim convicted in rape case , taken into judicial custody.

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panchkulaviolence_ramrahimverdict_636392898130294471NEW DELHI / PACHKULA : : The special CBI court in Panchkula on Friday convicted Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in a 2002 rape case and ordered him to be taken into judicial custody.
The CBI judge Jagdeep Singh while holding the 50-year-old Dera chief guilty of rape said the quantum of sentence will be pronounced on August 28, CBI counsel HPS Verma told reporters outside the court.

The punishment can be a jail term not less than seven years but may even extend to life imprisonment. Ram Rahim arrived for the verdict in a 200-car cavalcade and stood with his eyes closed and hands folded in prayer as the verdict was delivered.

His supporters went on a rampage soon after the verdict and at least 30 people were killed and 250 injured in widespread violence, arson and police firing.Ram Rahim Singh was taken to Rohtak and lodged in a make-shift jail at a police training centre soon after his conviction.Haryana Jail Minister says Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim will be lodged in a guest house at the Sunaria Jail in Rohtak, it adds.
Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar: “I appeal to all, especially Dera Sacha Sauda followers, to maintain peace. Whatever the verdict, we will implement it. We are prepared for all eventualities. In a video message at midnight, Ram Rahim appealed to his followers to disperse and return home, and urged them to keep calm. His request did not deter his devotees in Panchkula who said they would remain in the town to show support for him. Many also said they wanted to glimpse him in person.
Dera followers set fire to vehicles, buildings and railway station. The unrest which began in Panchkula where the verdict was handed down, spread to other parts of Haryana and Punjab and even New Delhi where a bus and train were set on fire. Delhi Police implemented prohibitory order under Section 144 in 11 Delhi districts, which will be in force till 8 September. Army called out in Sirsa to control Dera Sacha Sauda followers, says SP.
A train at Delhi’s Anand Vihar Railway Station has been set ablaze by Dera supporters, according to police. Two coaches of Rewa Express set on fire. Home minister Rajnath Singh appeals to everyone particularly Dera supporters to maintain peace. Police say bus torched in northeast Delhi’s Loni Chowk, allegedly by Dera Sacha Sauda supporters.
The home secretary also spoke to the Delhi police commissioner, who informed him that sporadic incidents of violence were reported from Anand Vihar, Loni and a few other places, but the overall situation in the national capital was under control. The Broadcast Editors Association (BEA) asked news channels across the country to be careful in airing the visuals of alleged attacks on journalists and camera persons in Panchkula.
PM Narendra Modi condemned the violence following the conviction of the Dera Sacha Sauda chief and termed it as deeply distressing. Modi said he reviewed situation with the NSA and the home minister and urged all to maintain peace.
Home minister Rajnath Singh has spoken to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and apprised him of the situation in Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi and Rajasthan. The violence has now reached Delhi and Rajasthan. The security at several metro stations in Delhi has been beefed up after two coaches of a train were set afire by violent supporters of Dera.
Delhi was today put on high alert in the wake of incidents of violence in Haryana following the conviction of Dera Sacha Sauda sect chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in a rape case, police said. A senior police officer said that even though there have been no specific inputs of Dera followers planning to create trouble here, security has been beefed up in the national capital as a precautionary measure. The security in areas bordering Haryana has been heightened, the police said.

Malout and Balluanna railway stations were partially torched by the angry followers as violence spread across Punjab in the aftermath of the court’s verdict, officials said. “Two stations have been affected and we are still getting inputs on the extent of damage. No injuries have been reported so far,” Northern Railway spokesperson told Neeraj Sharma
The Northern Railway had cancelled 211 trains to and from Haryana since 23 August up to 27 August. Of the total number of trains cancelled, 91 are Express trains and 120 are passenger trains. The railways has also short terminated/short originated 24 trains. “In all, the services of 236 trains have been affected one way or the other due to the law and order situation in Punjab-Haryana,” Sharma said.

A vehicle was set on fire by a group of unidentified people in Rajasthan’s Sriganganagar. Sriganganagar district collector Gyana Ram said that it was yet to be ascertained whether the incident was in reaction to the conviction of the self-styled godman. The gang torched the jeep and fled from the spot. The district collector said that the fire was doused by firemen soon. Security has been stepped up across the district, which is home to a large number of followers of Gurmeet Ram Rahim, in view of the verdict.

Meanwhile,the Punjab and Haryana high court orders attachment of all properties owned by the Dera Sacha Sauda chief to compensate for all the destruction caused by the spiritual leader’s supporters.
A full bench of the court comprising acting Chief Justice S Singh Saron, Justice Avneesh Jhingan and Justice Surya Kant was hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by a Panchkula resident raising law and order concerns as over 1.5 lakh people have reportedly entered the district despite prohibitory orders.Security of Rohtak handed over to CRPF. Rohtak was the centre of widespread Jat quota violence in February 2016.
The High Court has told the Haryana Government to file FIRs on religious leaders if they make provocative statements and has praised the media for showing restraint and giving ‘the true picture’. The court also told the Haryana government to use force if necessary to control the situation if it arises

“We have taken necessary steps. I called the Home Minister a week back. Ask why the Haryana CM let people collect so close to the verdict. The situation is under control. No deaths or nothing set on fire in Punjab. There are no curfews in the state. Sauda rioters set fire to a petrol pump in Malot, Punjab. Curfew imposed in three Punjab town — Ferozpur, Mansa and Bathinda.
The Chandigarh Police has warned Dera followers of stern action if they try to enter the union territory. An estimated 1.5 lakh Dera followers including men, women and children have gathered in Panchkula. The police maintained that it was on a high alert. “No Dera follower will be allowed to enter Chandigarh. If they (Dera followers) try to enter Chandigarh, stern action will be taken as per the law,” officials said.

Since mobile internet and data services have been suspended in Haryana, Punjab and Chandigarh, Dera followers complained of being unable to see the video clip of the sect head making an appeal to return to their homes. Security forces were faced with a tough situation as many Dera followers remained reluctant to move, saying they had come to the town on their own and would move only after having sect head’s “darshan”.
The police was caught on camera retreating as Ram Rahim supporters advanced menacingly. The Punjab and Haryana High Court has asked for a report on this tomorrow morning and has indicated the policemen involved will be punished. The court has said the many properties of Ram Rahim’s sect will be seized to pay for the massive damages caused today to public property.( with agency inputs).

 

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