Story so far: Godman Ram Rahim gets 20 years jail for 2 rape cases; violence in Punjab, Haryana
Godman Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh is the religious leader of the Dera Sacha Sauda, a sect with more than 60 million followers worldwide. He is convicted of raping two women 15 years ago at the Dera. His verdict has angered his followers resulting in violent bloodshed across Punjab and Haryana. So far 36 people have died and more than 250 injured soon after Ram Rahim Singh was arrested on Friday.
More than a lakh of Ram Rahim's staunch followers gathered in Panchkula (15 km from Chandigarh) ahead of the rape case verdict on Friday. Large mobs threw stones, clashed with the police and set fire to vehicles and public property not only in Panchkula, but in others parts of Haryana and Punjab too, according to media reports. Devotes smashed cars and set media vans alight, insisting Ram Rahim was innocent. Followers also threatened to cause self-harm and further destruction ahead of the Friday verdict. Violence also spread beyond Punjaband Haryana, to even Delhi, where followers set two train coaches on fire.
The Indian court found Singh guilty of raping two women followers at his ashram in the Dera Sacha Sauda, back in 2002. Highest level of security is also assigned to Judge Jagdeep Singh, who convicted Ram Rahim on Friday.
Apart from tight security in Rohtak to prevent angry followers to reach there, massive security is also under at the Dera Sacha Sauda headquarters in Sirsa. Reports suggest that nearly 30,000 Ram Rahim supporters are camping at the Dera waiting for Monday's sentencing.
Ram Rahim Singh who is also known as Bling Guru or Rockstar Baba took over as the leader of Dera Sacha Sauda when he was just 23-years old. He earned his nicknames because of his love for flamboyance, jewellery and appearances in music videos and interest in producing films.
In 2002, Singh was investigated by the police for alleged rape and murder, charges he has denied. He has also been accused of forcing 400 of his followers to undergo castration so they could "get closer to god" but he has vehemently denied those charges.
It is thought that guru Ram Rahim Singh will get a prison term of at least seven years when he is sentenced on Monday and authorities fear more violence could follow immediately after the sentence and court proceedings in Rohtak.
Here's how celebs respond to the guru's verdict and subsequent violence:
Our fault Babas exist as we turn towards them like silly sunflowers looking for the sun,forgetting that a halo is just a trick of the light!— Twinkle Khanna (@mrsfunnybones) August 26, 2017
#RamRahimVerdict #Haryana pic.twitter.com/mmj3xxzoXN— Farhan Akhtar (@FarOutAkhtar) August 25, 2017
Frauds.Blind faith in con people.Government must punish these fraudsters.Sukhwinder Kaur(Radhema)Gurmeet,Asaram,Nityananda.All Criminals! pic.twitter.com/1Sm2gqagBq— Rishi Kapoor (@chintskap) August 25, 2017
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