At least 12 people were killed in firing by security forces as enraged supporters of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmit Ram Rahim Singh went on a rampage here in Panchkula after his conviction in a rape case….reports Asian Lite News
A CBI special court held controversial Dera Sacha Sauda sect chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh guilty of raping and sexually exploiting two female disciples.
The sect chief was taken into custody following his conviction by trial court judge Jagdeep Singh. Soldiers who had been deployed earlier immediately rushed into the court here and took charge of the complex.
The verdict was announced amid unprecedented security. The sentence will be pronounced by the court on Monday.
The sect chief was present in the court when the judgment was read out in Panchkula town in Haryana, adjoining Chandigarh.
Court sources said the self-styled godman stood inside the court with his hands folded in prayer and his eyes closed when the judge started reading the verdict.
Outside the court, tens of thousands of supporters were massed. So were thousands of security personnel.
Once the verdict was given, Ram Rahim Singh was examined by doctors. Informed sources he would be taken to the military complex at Chandi Mandir in Panchkula.
The rape victims, despite threats and pressures all along, stood their ground on rape and sexual harassment allegations during the nearly 15-year-long hearing of the matter in court.
A pall of gloom descended among the thousands of followers as the verdict became known. In no time, some of them began attacking media personnel.
The sources said security forces opened fire at several places as Dera supporters went around setting vehicles and buildings on fire in this town adjoining Chandigarh.
Journalists and security personnel came under targeted attack. Some journalists fled for their lives and took shelter in nearby homes.
More than 100 people, including security personnel, were injured in the mayhem. Some bodies, bleeding and with bullet wounds, lay on the roads, witnesses said.
Panchkula town was virtually under siege by the rampaging Dera followers who had a free run as they vastly outnumbered the police and security personnel.
More than 100 vehicles were set on fire by the rampaging mobs. Several government and private buildings were also damaged and some torched.
Residents reported seeing plumes of black smoke rising into the sky at several places.
The Dera followers, in thousands, had gathered in Panchkula from various areas of Punjab and Haryana ahead of Friday’s court verdict, in brazen violation of orders banning the assembly of more than four people.
Once a CBI special court held Ram Rahim Singh guilty of rape and sexual molestation of two female devotees, the violence began in no time.