Dera Sacha Sauda sect chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was on Friday held guilty by a special CBI court of raping and sexually exploiting two female disciples. Soon after the verdict, Ram Rahim was taken into custody and moved to Rohtak Jail. Ram Rahim was present in the court when the judgment was read out by judge Jagdeep Singh in Panchkula town in Haryana, adjoining Chandigarh. The verdict was announced amid unprecedented security and the quantum of sentence will be pronounced by the court on Monday, August 28. According to sources, Ram Rahim stood inside the court with his hands folded in prayer and his eyes closed when the judge started reading the verdict. Outside the court, however, tens of thousands of supporters were massed and the security personnel, who were deployed here, took charge of the complex.
News of alleged attack on media by enraged followers of Ram Rahim also surfaced soon after the verdict even as administration has implemented curfew in manh cities across Haryana. A total of 15 incidents of violence were reported within 45 minutes in Punjab and Haryana after the court verdict became known. Most attacks took place in Sectors 3, 4 and 5, which are all close to the court complex. The police and paramilitary forces fired tear gas to disperse the followers.
Earlier, the Punjab and Haryana High Court said "forces should not hesitate to use weapons, if required". It also ordered to take immediate action against any political party or leader if there's interference
Here are some of the reactions:
# Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India: The instances of violence today are deeply distressing. I strongly condemn the violence & urge everyone to maintain peace. The law & order situation is being closely monitored. I reviewed the situation with the NSA & Home Secretary. Urged officials to work round the clock to restore normalcy and provide all possible assistance that is required.
# Sonia Gandhi expresses grave concern over violence in parts of Haryana and appealed for peace. In a statement here, the Congress president said that several people including children had died in the violence, and there was widespread destruction of public property and senseless attacks on the media. Sonia also spoke to Punjab CM Amarinder Singh and asked the government of Haryana and the Chandigarh administration to ensure the safety of all citizens.
Violence and damage to public property after court verdict is highly condemnable; appeal to all citizens to maintain peace #PresidentKovind— President of India (@rashtrapatibhvn) August 25, 2017
# Manohar Lal, Haryana CM: Action will be taken against those taking law in their hands, appeal everyone to remain cautious. No one is above law. Appeal people to not believe in rumors & steer clear of people with criminal intentions.
# Rajiv Mehrishi, Union Home Secretary: Have talked to Haryana DGP, he says situation is being brought under control gradually.
# Home Minister Rajnath Singh appeals to everyone particularly Dera supporters to maintain peace.
Neeraj Sharma, Northern Railway spokesperson: Security tightened at railway stations in Delhi post rape conviction of Dera chief Ram Rahim Singh. Two empty rakes of Rewa Express at Anand Vihar Terminal railway station set on fire.
Manohar Lal, Haryana CM: Briefed Home Minister Rajnath Singh ji. Situation being monitoring extensively, strict action will be taken against those who try to disrupt peace.
Amarinder Singh, Punjab CM: Just briefed Rajnath Singh ji about situation in Punjab. Keeping a close watch. I appeal to all Punjabis to maintain peace and harmony in the state. We won't allow anyone to disturb the peace and tranquility of our state.
Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi CM: I urge everyone to stay calm and maintain peace.
Bhupinder Singh Hooda, âÂÂformer Haryana CM:: I want to appeal to people of Haryana to maintain peace.