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Gurmeet Ram Rahim convicted of rape: Violent protests break out in Panchkula, media vans attacked

Panchkula: Police fired tear gas and water cannon when violence broke out in Panchkula on Friday after a special CBI court convicted Dera Sacha Sauda's head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh of rape.

File image of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. AP

File image of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. AP

Tens of thousands of followers of guru Ram Rahim Singh had descended on Panchkula, where the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had set up a special court to rule on the charge that he had raped two female devotees.

Singh has a vast following in the northern state of Haryana, where he runs a spiritual movement that claims to have millions of devotees around the world.

Troops and riot police had been deployed ahead of the verdict, but violence broke out as news of his conviction spread among the gathered devotees.

An AFP reporter saw police fire tear gas and water cannon into a crowd of protesters who threw stones and attacked two television vans, overturning one.

There were also unconfirmed reports of police firing into the air to disperse the crowd.

Media reports said Singh had been taken into custody under military escort. He will be sentenced on 28 August.

"The court convicted Baba Ram Rahim Singh on rape charges," prosecutor Harinder Pal Singh Verma told AFP by telephone after the closed hearing.

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Updated Date: Aug 25, 2017 17:39 PM

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