The special CBI court today gave its final judgement in the 14 year-old rape case against Dera Sacha Sauda chuef and the self-styled godman Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh has been found guilty and has been sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment. While the judge was announcing the tenure of imprisonment for Ram Rahim, the so-called godman began to cry his heart out and asked for forgiveness to the court.
Thousands of paramilitary troops and anti-riot police have blocked off all roads in the area. Large gatherings are banned in Rohtak. Mobile internet services remain suspended. All schools and colleges in Haryana are closed.
Barbed-wire barriers have been erected and residents have been warned to stay indoors in Rohtak. Senior members of Ram Rahim’s Dera Sacha Sauda sect were placed under detention as a precautionary measure.
The Rohtak police has warned that it may shoot at any sign of trouble, three days after violence and rioting by supporters of the Dera Sacha Sauda claimed 38 lives.
“We have made multi-layered arrangements so that nobody is able to reach the venue (prison) or enter Rohtak district itself,” police deputy inspector general Navdeep Singh Virk told NDTV. “I am fully confident everything will go on peacefully and there will be no untoward incident.”
Over 1,50,000 members of Ram Rahim’s Dera Sacha Sauda had gathered in Panchkula in a show of support before Friday’s verdict. Violent protests followed across his power base in the Haryana, with police deploying tear gas and water cannons, with little impact. It was clear the authorities grossly underestimated the risk posed by the army of Ram Rahim’s devotees.
Over the weekend, more than 100 branches of the sect have been sanitised and sealed across Haryana. Petrol cans and sticks were found stockpiled. The police in Sirsa, where his 1,000- acre main base is located, have been urging about 30,000 devotees to emerge from the campus.