At least ten people have been killed and more than 200 injured in Panchkula as Dera Sacha Sauda followers have gone on a rampage after a CBI court convicted Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh of rape charges on Friday.
More than 50 private and government vehicles were torched in Panchkula as police fired several rounds of tear gas to quell the protesting supporters of the self-styled godman.
Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was found guilty of rape by a special CBI court in Panchkula, Haryana, on Friday. He was immediately taken into judicial custody; he will be sentenced on Monday. Ram Rahim Singh was accused of raping two ‘sadhvis’ (female followers), in 2002 and the case came to trial in 2008. He has denied all charges against him.
The rioters have torched at least two railway stations, a power grid and petrol pumps in Haryana. Media persons, have also been attacked. Meanwhile, a curfew has been imposed in Punjab’s Bathinda, Mansa, Patiala, Ferozepur, Muktsar, Malout, Budhlada.
At least 10 bodies and several injured have reached the Panchkula civil hospital.. There were also reports of more than 200 people being injured within an hour of the verdict.
Earlier, the court delivered its verdict in the case against the 50-year-old Dera chief after 14 long years and amid unprecedented security as thousands of Dera followers gathered in Panchkula ahead of the judgment.
In fact, just two hours before the verdict, the Punjab and Haryana high court told the Haryana government it can go ahead and use force when required and file FIRs against any Gurmeet Ram Rahim follower breaking the law or making provocative statements.
- Home Minister Rajnath Singh has called on Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh and Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar to take control of the situation immediately and impose a curfew if the situation so demands. Meanwhile, more than 100 vehicles have been set ablaze in Panchkula. The hospitals are struggling with a massive influx of patients and reports of blood shortage.
- Curfew imposed in Panchkula; petrol pump in Sector 4 and Income Tax office in Sector 2 targeted
- In Punjab's Mansa, two vehicles of Income Tax department were torched
- Panchkula: Violent dera followers, who have outnumbered the cops on duty, have broken police cordon at Sectors 4-5 roundabout and have started marching towards the court complex in Sector 1. There are also reports of stone pelting by the mob and scuffles with the security forces and media. The cops on duty seem helpless even as the Army has taken over the law and order situation in Panchkula. Situation has turned highly volatile and the locals have locked themselves indoors, fearing violence.
- Heavy force deployment in Sirsa as crowds turn violent, Rapid Action Force (RAF) also reaches Haryana.
- Two Railway stations in Punjab have been set on fire. Curfew imposed in Panchkula as well. ANI reports at least 10 injured in violence.
- At least 3 Dera Sacha Sauda supporters have died in the violence that is currently unfolding in Panchkula and nearby areas. Meanwhile, Delhi-NCR has been put on high-alert. Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh supporters attempt to set Panchkula Income Tax Office on fire.
- 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.