Chandigarh, August 25: A Panchkula Court on Friday held the chief of Dera Sacha Sauda Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh ‘Guilty’ in a case of rape against two of his women followers. After the verdict, the followers of the sect unleashed violence on media persons and set fire to a petrol up and Malout railway station. As many as 11 people have reportedly died in the violence, according to TV reports. The clashes, despite proper security arrangements, were reported from various districts of Haryana and Punjab.
Here is 10 latest updates post Ram Rahim verdict in Panchkula:
- 30 persons were killed and over 100 have reportedly injured in the violent protests in Panchkula. The injured have been shifted to a hospital in Sector 6 Panchkula.
- Malout Railway Station and a petrol pump have been set on fire by the Dera followers in Punjab. Similar incidents were also reported in Bathinda.
- Three OB Vans set alight by protesters in Panchkula.
- Minister of Home Affairs Rajnath Singh called a meeting of Home Secretary and other officials at his residence on Saturday.
- Haryana Police used tear gas and resorted to lathi-charge in Sector 5 Panchkula as the crowd turned violent. Live bullets were fired into the air to disperse crowds.
- Central Industrial Security Force personnel have been deployed within one-kilometre radius of Rohtak’s Sunariya Jail post Panchkula violence.
- Curfew imposed in Punjab’s Muktsar, Bathinda, and Mansa. Heavy force deployment in Sirsa.
- Security measures were imposed at the borders of Delhi to prevent any unfortunate incident.
- Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh appealed for tranquillity and peace in the state. Singh said, “I appeal to all Punjabis to maintain peace and harmony in the state. (We) won’t allow anyone to disturb peace & tranquillity.”
- Punjab CM has briefed Rajnath Singh about the situation in Punjab.
The godman was accused of rape of a female devotee in 1999 after a letter, written by the devotee, started circulating. The CBI took over the investigation in 2002. On August 17, the special CBI court of Panchkula concluded hearing in the case but reserved pronouncing the verdict for August 25.
Before the verdict, Dera followers had started camping outside the CBI court in Panchkula, arousing fear of violence after the verdict. The Dera chief had requested his followers to maintain peace and go back home but sect followers refused to relent. They had requested Gurmeet Ram Rahim to not appear in the court. “Our Guru can never do wrong, we support him. We will remain calm until the verdict comes,” one of the followers told ANI.
At midnight, Ram Rahim had released a video asking his followers to return to their homes. “I had earlier appealed to maintain peace and calm and asked (followers) not to go to Panchkula. All those (followers) who are in Panchkula should return to their home. I have to go to the court for hearing the verdict and I will go to Panchkula. We should all abide by (the) law and maintain peace and calm,” Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh said in the video.
(With inputs from Agencies)