A special CBI court in Panchkula on August 25, 2017, found Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh guilty in a rape case. He was consequently awarded 20 years imprisonment on August 28, 2017.
A former follower had accused Singh of repeatedly raping her inside the Dera campus near Sirsa in Haryana. The incident took place in 1999. An FIR was registered in 2002.
CBI filed the charge sheet against the Dera head in Ambala court in July 2007, about five years after the registration of the rape case. The charge sheet mentions sexual exploitation of two ‘Sadhvis’ (women followers) between 1999 and 2001.
Violence engulfs Panchkula
As the news of Ram Rahim Singh’s conviction broke, his supporters went on a rampage in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh. At least 30 people were killed and 250 injured in Panchkula and other parts of Haryana.
As death and destruction engulfed Panchkula, the district administration imposed curfew.
In neighbouring Punjab, curfew was imposed in Ferozpur, Muktsar, Bathinda and Mansa after incidents of arson were reported in a few towns. Dera followers attempted to set railway stations on fire at Malout, Balluana and Gidderbaha in Muktsar district. Incidents of violence were also reported from Rajasthan and Delhi, where two empty bogies of a train were set on fire at the Anand Vihar railway station.
Political parties demanded dismissal of the BJP government in Haryana led by Manohar Lal Khattar for failing to rein in the post-verdict violence. The Union Government, however, rejected it. “”State governments did take precautions. You can’t blame them,” Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had said. The Hindu