Rajnath reviews situation after Dera chief’s conviction

H.P.S. Verma says Ram Rahim SIngh was found guilty of raping two women followers at his ashram in 2002.

In its resumed hearing here, a bench of Justices S.S. Saron, Surya Kant and Avneesh Jhingan also categorically told the Haryana government that politicians, including ministers, should not be allowed to visit Panchkula, where the CBI court is located.

Baba Ram Rahim Singh has denied the charges against him. He says he’ll be taken to the central jail in the town of Rohtak.

The rape case was brought against him after an anonymous letter was sent to then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 2002 accusing him of repeatedly raping the sender and several other women in the sect.

Immediately after the CBI court here convicted the Dera Sacha Sauda chief, many of his followers broke police barricades and security cordons.

In their statements before the court, the two sadhvis alleged that they were raped by the spiritual leader.

The Home Ministry has put the states of Rajasthan, Punjab and Haryana on high alert following the conviction of Ram Rahim in the rape case. Additionally, curfew has also been imposed in various places, including Patiala, Sirsa, Ferozpur, Muktsar, Bathinda and Mansa according to reports.

Ram Rahim was presented earlier in the CBI special court in Panchkula, where he reached with a convoy of more than 180 cars, quite clearly flexing his muscle.

In 2007, clashes between the Dera Sacha Sauda followers and members of the Sikh faith in northern India had left at least three people dead.

Despite authorities having deployed thousands of police and paramilitary troopers, the followers resorted to violence in Haryana, Punjab and New Delhi.

The police fired in the air and lobbed tear gas shells on sections of the crowds, many of them camping since last night on the streets of Panchkula.

Ram Niwas, a senior government official, said mobile internet services had also been suspended in the states of Haryana and Punjab to stop people from spreading rumours and causing unrest.

Singh is the leader of the Dera Sacha Sauda sect in Sirsa district, around 250 kilometres east of Panchkula. The Dera Sacha Sauda chief was accompanied by a 200 auto convoy.

Ram Rahim