Chandigarh (Punjab/Haryana) [India], August 23 (ANI): Ahead of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court’s verdict in the 15-year-old rape case against Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, 97 Central Reserve Police Force (C.R.P.F) including the Rapid Action Force will be deployed in Panchkula during the hearing on Friday.

Thousands of policemen and paramilitary troops were, meanwhile, deployed in Punjab and Haryana today with Section 144 being imposed in both states, as thousands of followers have gathered near the Panchkula courthouse where the judgment will be delivered.

Over one lakh followers are expected to gather within the next two days, while schools and colleges in the area have been shut down.

More than 50,000 Dera followers, who call themselves ‘Premis’, have reached Panchkula, and are camping near the courthouse.

These devotees have been requesting Gurmeet Ram Rahim to not appear in the court and have even issued ‘violent’ threats.

Furthermore, all private and government schools in Panchkula are slated to remain shut on August 24-25.

In 2002, a case was registered by the CBI against the self-styled godman after allegations of sexual exploitation of two women followers surfaced through anonymous letters.

The hearing has been going on since 2007.

Gurmeet Ram Rahim also faces trial in another case involving the murder of a journalist, Ram Chander Chhatrapati. (ANI)

This is published unedited from the ANI feed.