Gurmeet Ram Rahim convicted of rape: Six army columns deployed in Panchkula, forces on stand-by in Sirsa

New Delhi: Six army columns were deployed in Haryana's Panchkula on Friday after violence erupted following the verdict convicting Dera Sacha Sauda sect chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in a rape case, said army sources.

Army columns were also on stand-by in Sirsa, where the sect's headquarters is located, for "quick reaction", the sources said.

File image of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. AP

File image of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. AP

At least five people were killed in firing by security forces as enraged supporters of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh resorted to large-scale violence in Panchkula on Friday following his conviction in a rape case, police sources said.

The sources said that security forces opened fire as Dera supporters went on the rampage, setting several vehicles and buildings on fire.

Tens of thousands of followers of the Dera chief went on a rampage, burning vehicles and buildings and attacking media persons, after a special CBI court here pronounced the verdict in the 2002 case.

A total of 15 incidents of violence were reported within 45 minutes in Punjab and Haryana after the court verdict became known.

A few journalists were injured in the attack, witnesses said. Cameras of photo-journalists and TV cameramen were damaged by the sect followers.

Most attacks took place in Sectors 3, 4 and 5, which are all close to the court complex.

The police and paramilitary forces could not react adequately as the mobs indulged in violence. But tear gas was fired at one place, leading to stone throwing by Ram Rahim Singh's supporters.

Soldiers deployed in Panchkula moved in quickly and took control of the court complex, where the sect chief was taken into custody by security personnel following his conviction.

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Updated Date: Aug 25, 2017 17:41 PM

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