Panchkula, August 25:  Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was on Friday held guilty in the 2002 rape case. The Panchkula court will decide the quantum of punishment on Monday. He has been flown to Rohtak and Central Industrial Security Force personnel have been deployed within one km radius of Sunariya Jail.Also Read - Election Commission’s Ban On Rallies Extended Till January 31 With Relaxations For Phase 1 And 2

The Dera chief could face up to seven years in jail in the rape case. He has been taken into custody by the Haryana Police and moved to Ambala jail. The 50-year-old Dera Sauda chief stood in the court with folded hands while Justice Jagdeep Singh read the verdict. Also Read - Punjab CM Channi To File Defamation Case Against Delhi Counterpart Kejriwal For ‘Dishonest Man’ Remark

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According to reports, violence broke out in many areas. Three people have been reportedly killed in Panchkula.

Media persons were attacked by Dera followers in Panchkula and media vans were also vandalised. The police fired tear gas shells, water canons on the protesters. “Everything is perfectly under control. Let us not sensationalise unnecessarily,” said Sirsa IGP Amitabh Singh Dhillon.

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Many cars were damaged on the Shimla highway. Maintaining law and order situation has become a challenge for the authority. According to an eyewitness, police used tear gas and resorted to lathicharge in Sector 5 Panchkula as crowd turn violent. Live bullets were fired in the air to disperse crowds.

In Punjab, curfew has been imposed in Bathinda, Ferozepur and Mansa districts. Malout Railway Station and petrol pump have been set on fire by protesters in Punjab. Similar incidents were also reported in Bathinda. “I appeal to all Punjabis to maintain peace and harmony in state. I won’t allow anyone to disturb peace and tranquility,” Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh.

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Following the verdict, power has been cut across many cities in Haryana. Lakhs of followers of Ram Rahim have been camping in Panchkula for last three days. The Haryana government had advised Panchkula residents to stay indoors.

Haryana and Punjab have been turned into fortress as a Special Central Bureau of Investigation court in Haryana’s Panchkula gave verdict in the rape case against Ram Rahim. In order to maintain law and order situation, 65 CRPF personnel, 10 BSF companies, and around 57,000 police officials are on duty. The Army is also on stand-by to avoid any untoward incident.

The rape case against Ram Rahim dates back to 2002. Two women followers of Ram Rahim sent anonymous letters to then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, accusing the Dera chief of raping them and other sadhvis in his sprawling Dera campus. The sadhvis also accused Ram Rahim of threatening them and warning them against speaking out.

Following the letter, a case was registered by the CBI against the self-styled godman after allegations of sexual exploitation of the sadhvis. During the investigation, the CBI questioned the sadhvis who had left the Dera. The sadhvis reportedly made shocking allegations against Ram Rahim and two of them accused him of having raped them on account of ‘purity’. The hearing in the case has been on since 2007 when the CBI filed a chargesheet against the Dera chief.

He also faces trial in another case involving the murder of a journalist, Ram Chander Chhatrapati and his follower Ranjit Singh in 2002.