Indian spiritual guru Dera chief’s conviction in rape case leaves 30 dead in violence

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Web Report

Chandigarh – Finally, after 15 years a CBI special court on Friday held the controversial Dera Sacha Sauda sect chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh guilty and convicted him on charges of raping and sexually exploiting two female disciples.
Trial court judge Jagdeep Singh announced the verdict amid unprecedented security here. The sentence will be pronounced by the court on Monday.
The sect chief was present in the court when the judgment was given in Panchkula town, adjoining Chandigarh. Outside, tens of thousands of his supporters were massed along with thousands of security personnel.
The rape victims, despite threats and pressures all along, stood their ground on rape and sexual harassment allegations during the nearly 15-year hearing of the case in court.
At least 30 people have died in the violence by Dera Sacha Sauda followers after Singh’s conviction, police sources said here.
Tens of thousands of followers of the Dera chief went on a rampage, burning vehicles and buildings and attacking media persons, after a special CBI court here pronounced the verdict in the 2002 case.
Enraged followers of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh on Friday attacked media vehicles and journalists after a CBI special court here held the self-styled godman guilty of raping and sexually exploiting two female disciples.
The Outdoor Broadcasting vans of three or four television news channels were attacked by the supporters outside the court complex here, adjoining Chandigarh. Some OB vans were set on fire.
A total of 15 incidents of violence were reported within 45 minutes in Punjab and Haryana after the court verdict became known.
A few journalists were injured in the attack, witnesses said. Cameras of photo-journalists and TV cameramen were damaged by the sect followers.
Most attacks took place in Sectors 3, 4 and 5, which are all close to the court complex.
The police and paramilitary forces could not react adequately as the mobs indulged in violence. But tear gas was fired at one place, leading to stone throwing by Ram Rahim Singh’s supporters. – abdulbasit@theuaenews.com