Six Army columns deployed in Panchkula post conviction of Ram Rahim verdict

Gurmeet Ram Raheem

Earlier today, the Haryana Court charged Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh of rape charges. The rape case against the controversial self-styled godman dates back to 2002 when a woman follower wrote an anonymous letter to then Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee claiming she had been raped. They fired tear-gas canisters and water cannon into the crowd to try to restore control, says the BBC's Ravinder Singh Robin in Panchkula.

He said they wanted to talk to Dera followers on the court verdict but they were attacked instead.

Hundreds of vehicles were gutted down by Dera chief's followers across Haryana and Punjab. But as we take stock of the terrifying footage of destruction strewn over social media, the image that stands out most prominently is that of Singh, being ferried away in a helicopter, to a jail in Rohtak.

The Dera followers, in thousands, had gathered in Panchkula from various areas of Punjab and Haryana ahead of Friday's court verdict, in brazen violation of orders banning the assembly of more than four people.

Verma said there was no more gathering of supporters of the Dera chief in Delhi.

"I consider guru-ji to be only next to God", farmer Malkit Singh said as he squatted on the ground in a Panchkula park, saying Ram Rahim Singh had cured him of a decadelong addiction to drugs. Adequate forces have already been deployed and if needed additional forces will be sent.

As per the latest updates of the case, the district court in Panchkula on Friday has announced Ram Rahim guilty of sexually exploiting the Sadhvi.

There were reports of violence in other parts of those two states, including an attempt to set a railway station on fire in Muktsar.

In a statement here, Sonia 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. The situation is tensed inside the city Panchkula.

The deaths took place in firing by security forces on the enraged Dera followers.

Moreover, in two separate trials, he is facing murder charges of a Ram Chander Chattrapati, a journalist and a Dera follower.

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