Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh known for being, flashy, controversial and ‘extremely’ self-styled, finally got convicted for charges committed 15 years ago.
He is found guilty for raping two followers, for which the quantum of sentence will be announced today at 2:30pm. Ram Rahim is kept in a special jail in Rohtak, amid multiple layers of security and the city virtually locked down. Locals in Rohtak city have been asked to stay off road as a preventive measure ahead of his sentencing.
Today the Rohtak police is bestowed with the power of shooting at any sight of trouble, which came after three days after violence and rioting by supporters of Ram Rahim’s Dera Sacha Sauda sect that claimed 38 lives. Ram Rahim is known as the “Guru in bling”, who has also starred in films and claims to have 50 million followers.
Today, all that “fame” might turn to obscurity, as the quantum of his sentence could be anywhere between seven years to life imprisonment.
Here is the latest progress on the issue:
- CBI special court judge Jagdeep Singh, who declared the Dera chief guilty of rape and criminal intimidation, will be flown to Rohtak at 11:30 am, where Ram Rahim has been lodged since Friday. All access to the jail on the outskirts of Rohtak has been blocked and close to 3,000 paramilitary troops have been stationed.
- “Anyone creating trouble will be given a warning first and if he still pays no heed, then he will have to face the bullet,” Rohtak Deputy Commissioner Atul Kumar confirmed
- All schools and colleges are closed in Haryana, and some also in neighbouring Punjab. Schools are also shut in Ghaziabad and Noida.
- There are no traffic restrictions in Delhi and all schools are open, asserted the police. Amid panic among many parents on social media, the police put out an advisory yesterday cautioning against rumours.
- On Friday, as soon as the judge held Ram Rahim guilty of rape, tens of thousands of his supporters burnt cars and buses, vandalized property and targeted the media and others in parts of Haryana. Police say 38 people have died in the clashes and property worth crores was destroyed in Panchkula.
- More than 900 people have been arrested in Haryana since. The Punjab and Haryana High Court ordered that the judge be flown to Rohtak to check violence today.
- Nearly 30,000 followers of Ram Rahim, refusing to budge from the Dera main base in Sirsa town, were cleared out yesterday in scores of state-transport buses. Hundreds of soldiers and riot police have blocked approaches to the Sirsa premises spread over 1,000 acres.
- During searches at more than 130 Dera campuses in Haryana and Punjab, weapons were found; the police seized sticks, rods and material to make petrol bombs. Near the Sirsa campus, two AK-47s and a pistol were found in a car.
- On Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said: “Those who take law in their hands or take to violence will not be spared, whoever they are.”
- The BJP, which rules Haryana, has been accused of failing massively to prevent the outbreak of violence, underestimating the risk posed by the Dera crowds, and flying the Dera chief to jail in a luxury chopper.