Panchkula violence as it happened: Death toll rises to 38; Ram Rahim Singh case verdict to be announced at 2.30 pm

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Panchkula violence as it happened: Death toll rises to 38; Ram Rahim Singh case verdict to be announced at 2.30 pm
  • 22:43 (IST)

    Curfew to be relaxed in Sirsa between 7 am and 7 pm tomorrow

    With no instances of violence being reported here after the sentencing of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, the district administration decided to relax curfew from 7.00 am to 7.00 pm tomorrow. During the period, schools and colleges will also remain open.

    The decision was taken at a high level meeting between authorities. Sirsa town is home to the sprawling Dera headquarters where the sect's followers had gathered in large numbers ahead of Ram Rahim's conviction.

  • 22:33 (IST)

    Copy of CBI court order sentencing Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh to 20 years in jail

    Copy of judgement accessed by Sat Singh, member of 101Reporters. 

  • 22:11 (IST)

    Ram Rahim Singh kept alone in cell

    Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, the self-styled godman has been allocated a single cell in the Rohtak prison, NDTV reported. The news channel also said that the Dera chief was reportedly crying on his first night in the prison. 

    Known for maintaining a flamboyant lifestyle, and an unusually blingy sartorial sense, the 20 year rigorous imprisonment came as a set-back for the Dera chief. His lawyers have decided to appeal in higher courts for some relief.  

  • 21:58 (IST)

    20 years might not suffice considering Sirsa godman's criminal past

    Whether or not the 20 years of jail may suffice Ram Rahim, the punishment needs to be examined along with other allegations of crime against the self-proclaimed godman. Times Now reported that several more sadhvis were raped.

    Besides rape, Singh has been accused of encouraging his followers to undergo castrations to gain proximity with God. There are also questions over the murder of journalist Ram Chander Chhatrapati who exposed Singh's wrongdoings way back in 2002. 

    Read full article here

  • 21:58 (IST)

    Haryana govt sends report on Dera violence to Centre
    The Haryana government has sent a factual report to the Centre on the violence reported in various parts of the state following the conviction of Dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in a rape case, but there is no mention of any lapses on part of the authority, officials said.
    The BJP-led state government has, in the report, narrated the incidents which took place in various parts of Haryana,the number of deaths and those injured, and about destruction of properties, they said. However, there is no mention of any lapses on part of the authority in controlling the large scale violence.
    There was also no mention about whether the 20,000 paramilitary personnel sent by the central government were deployed properly in the northern state, officials told PTI

  • 21:24 (IST)

    Gurmeet Ram Rahim harassed his adopted ‘daughter's husband', says Beant Singh, former bodyguard of Ram Rahim: Times Now

  • 21:23 (IST)

    Delhi will continue to remain on high alert: Delhi Police

  • 20:20 (IST)

    Former CBI officer says investigators could trace 30 to 40 victims sexually assaulted by Dera chief

  • 20:14 (IST)

    Dera chief used to rape sadhvis often; murdered many men:Times Now reports 

    Times Now quoted a man named Beant Singh, who claimed to be a former aide of the Dera chief for 15 years, said that Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh has murdered several people and has disposed off bodies in the near-by lake and some of them are even buried in the Dera headquarters. 

    He also said that the Dera chief is a known assaulter and has raped almost 90 percent of the sadhvis in the Dera were sexually assaulted or raped. 

  • 20:06 (IST)

    Dera chief one of many self-styled godmen' embroiled in scandals

    India's self-styled "godmen" have legions of devoted followers, but several have been embroiled in scandals in recent years. As a court convicts Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh — known as the "guru in bling" — in a rape case, here are some of the more famous godmen:

    • Rampal Maharaj
    • Ashutosh Maharaj
    • Asaram Bapu
    • Swami Nithyananda
    • Sathya Sai Baba

    Read full article here

  • 19:58 (IST)

    My father received death threats for unmasking dera chief: Watch statement of son of slain journalist

  • 19:54 (IST)

    Political parties welcome prison term given to Dera chief

    Leaders from various political parties on Monday welcomed the 20-year prison term given to Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh even as some Opposition leaders lashed out at the Haryana government for the violence that preceded the pronouncement of the sentence.

    Leaders from various political parties on Monday welcomed the 20-year prison term given to Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh even as some Opposition leaders lashed out at the Haryana government for the violence that preceded the pronouncement of the sentence.

    BJP leader Subramanian Swamy said that Ram Rahim's conviction was a message that no one is too big to be prosecuted.

  • 19:49 (IST)

    Will move high court against verdict, says Dera chief's lawyer

    Rape convict Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh will appeal against the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) special court judgement sentencing him to 20 years rigorous imprisonment and Rs 30 lakh fine in two rape cases, his lawyer said on Monday.


    Talking to reporters here, the Dera chief's lawyer S.K. Garg said they had pleaded with the court to take a lenient view in awarding the sentence as the rape cases were old. 

  • 19:19 (IST)

    Law and order situation will not be allowed to be disturbed: CM Manohar Lal Khattar

  • 19:11 (IST)

    Cell number 1997 of Rohtak prison new address of Dera chief for next 20 years

    NDTV reported that Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh is lodged in cell number 1997 of Rohtak Central prison as news broke that 10-year-jail sentences in two rape cases, and both sentences will run consecutively. This means that if the Dera chief fails to get some relief from higher courts, he will remain lodged in jail for the next 20 years. 

  • 19:03 (IST)

    Ram Rahim Singh gets 20 years of rigorous imprisonment

    The CBI court has sentenced Ram Rahim Singh to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment in each of two rape cases that he has been convicted for. The court, in an important demarcation, stated that the sentences will run consecutively and not concurrently. This makes the total punishment 20 years of rigorous imprisonment in jail. 

  • 18:55 (IST)

    Ram Rahim Singh joins other 1388 males facing between 10 and 13 years of jail term in Haryana

    Ram Rahim Singh joins a growing number of rape convicts in Haryana jails, which throw some interesting statistics. 

    • Haryana has the second-highest number of convicts lodged in district jails
    • No dearth of peers for Baba in jail  as Haryana jails has 1,003 males convicted in the age group of 50 and above, according to 2015 data. 

    Read full article here

  • 18:51 (IST)

  • 18:50 (IST)

    Ram Rahim also fined Rs 15 lakh in each of two case; Rs 14 lack to be paid as compensation to 2 vitims

  • 18:44 (IST)

    Curfew continues in Moga, Mansa; internet services restored in Chandigarh

  • 18:43 (IST)

    Dera accounts to be attached

    No untoward incident was reported from Sirsa after the pronouncement of the quantum of sentence of Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, who has been convicted in a rape case, a senior Haryana government official said on Monday.

    Speaking to reporters here, IAS officer V Umashankar also said that the district authorities had ordered the attachment of the Sirsa-based Dera's accounts and compensation to those affected in the violence earlier could be given from these. 

  • 18:37 (IST)

    37,000 men deployed in Haryana; 4,000 man Punjab in wake of verdict on Dera chief

  • 18:37 (IST)

    BJP dubs Dera chief a 'thug', lauds Haryana government

    The BJP dubbed rape convict Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh as a "thug" and said the Haryana government did a "commendable" job by producing him before court without any violence.

    "They should be punished like anything. They are indulging in thuggery and misguiding people by appearing to be a Dharmaguru which is the worst," BJP General Secretary and incharge of Haryana Anil Jain told reporters .

    Defending the Haryana government, Jain said that the causalities would have been much higher on Friday if the administration had not acted promptly.

    "First and foremost thing for the government and administration was to get him to surrender and to get him sentenced so that he goes to jail. That is what we maintained without any violence. After the verdict, retaliation was expected and the administration contained it within two-and-half hours. It was commendable," Jain said.

    "This man is having a sizeable number of supporters and to control them was not an easy task. The administration did a commendable job by getting him sentenced," he said.

  • 18:31 (IST)

  • 18:28 (IST)

    Why Dera Sacha Sauda draws followers?

    Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh is a convicted rapist and faces serious allegations in other henious crimes. However, no taint againnst the Love charger Baba is enough to deter thousands of his followers. What is it that has enamoured millions to the Baba's charm so much so that the blind devotion escapes the understanding of Lutyens' Delhi. 

    "In Punjab and Haryana, where caste divisions are deeply entrenched in society, Dera Sacha Sauda promises a caste-free society. The Dera chief has laid an emphasis on “equality and humility” which attracts people, particularly those from lower strata of society, to his sect. Moreover, the Dera offers subsidised food and medicine to those followers who come from underprivileged backgrounds. 

    Ram Rahim, during his time as Dera chief, has launched several public welfare projects, 104 of which are currently ongoing. The Dera has even won 13 Guinness Awards for de-addiction, ophthalmological, diabetes and cardiac clinics, tree-plantation and cleanliness drive. It has a 70,000-strong trained volunteer force for nationwide relief and rescue operations," News 18 reports. 

  • 18:11 (IST)

    Curfew to be imposed in Barnala

  • 18:09 (IST)

    CBI to push for stricter punishment against Ram Rahim Singh: NDTV

  • 18:08 (IST)

    "I am innocent," The godman in bling wept before the court

    The high-profile rape case verdict ended with high-drama in the courtroom, completely in contrast to the superhero image Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, portrays of hismself in his movies. 

    The Dera chief entered the court premises with folded hands and broke down into tears after the verdict was announced. The Dera chief dropped to the floor and held his chair to stop marshals from escorting him out of the courtroom. He reportedly pleaded with the judge to "please forgive him' at one point, while he blabbered on that he was innocent moments later. 

    The Dera chief eventually had to be dragged out of the court as he refused to leave the makeshift court premises, complaining of chest pain and high blood pressure. 

  • 17:58 (IST)

    Dera chief verdict: Even death penalty less, says DCW chief

    Delhi Commission for Women chief Swati Maliwal on Monday welcomed the 10-year jail term handed out by a CBI court to rape convict Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh and said even death penalty was less in his case.

  • 17:56 (IST)

  • 17:48 (IST)

    Why did Ram Rahim get only 10 years in jail despite raping minors?

    The offence was committed before the stringent Prevention of Children From Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act came into existence. Therefore, fortunateky for the Dera Sacha Sauda chief, he could not be tried under the new law, where the maximum sentence is life term, as it cannot be applied retrospectively.  

    The case against the Dera chief was filed in 2002 and he was booked under sections 375 and 376 of the IPC. The minimum punishment that could be awarded to Singh under these two sections was seven years and he got 10 in jail. 

    Read the full report here

  • 17:35 (IST)

    Victim's lawyer to approach HC for enhancement of punishment

    Utsav Singh Bains, lawyer for the victims, said he would seek a longer sentence and asked India's federal investigations bureau to investigate dozens more alleged cases of abuse.

    "We will file two appeals shortly. One for enhancement of the punishment and another for further investigation into the case," Bains told AFP by phone.

    "We believe there are at least 48 more victims who were sexually abused and who may have been killed or are too scared to come out and testify against Ram Rahim," Bains said.

  • 17:30 (IST)

    Congress party hails CBI court verdict on Ram Rahim

  • 17:25 (IST)

    We will identify the rioters and strict action will be taken against them: Special Commissioner, Haryana Police 

  • 17:19 (IST)

    In Pictures: 2 cars torched in Sirsa earlier today

  • 17:19 (IST)

    Forces were directed to practice restraint to minimise civilian casualties: IG Hisar

  • 17:18 (IST)

    We were fully prepared to tackle a Friday like situation: IG Hisar

  • 17:16 (IST)

    Capt Amarinder Singh meets Punjab governor after Dera chief verdict

  • 17:14 (IST)

    IG Hisar briefs press on security situation in Haryana

  • 17:13 (IST)

    Baba Ramdev hails CBI court verdict, says all are equal before law

  • 17:07 (IST)

    Army conducts flag march in Panchkula

  • 17:05 (IST)

    Dera supporters in tears over 'unjust' verdict for their 'Pitaji'

    Some of the devotees inside the Dera Sacha Sauda headquarters in Sirsa are in tears after hearing that Gurmeet Ram Rahim has been sentenced to 10 years in jail. The environment inside the Dera is very silent and followers are in a state of trauma after the quantum of sentence was announced by CBI court.

    Raghu Insan (name changed), 29, a lecturer in a private college in Sirsa told 101reporters that while she respected the court order, she still feels that injustice has been done to their “guru”.

    "We will challenge this in High court and wait for the decision in favour of Pitaji," she said. She further said that every Dera supporter is sitting silent and they have nothing to do with the violence erupting outside the Dera. “The violence is caused by anti-social elements in the society and not by Dera supporters,” Insan added.

    Another supporter, a student who is still inside the Dera said, ”All the Dera supporters are sitting in one hall and no one is talking. Every activity has come to halt inside the Dera.” The student also said that the Army was plying people (supporters who were venturing out) in army vehicles and the situation remained very peaceful inside and outside the Dera.

    Report by Richa Sharma, 101Reporters

  • 17:03 (IST)

    20,000 to 25,000 Dera supporters still inside Sirsa HQ

    The Haryana police has appealed to Dera supporters, gathered inside the Sirsa headquarters to step out and return to their homes. The Haryana administration has assured the Dera followers of a safe passage through Haryana transport buses. The police is allowing private vehicles to come out of the headquarters too but only after thorough security checks.

    Many of those gathered are also from the neighbouring states of Punjab and Rajasthan. Even as many people have stepped out and have been ferried to their homes. However, 20,000 to 25,000 supporters are still inside the headquarters. 

  • 16:50 (IST)

    Internet services resumed in Chandigarh: CNN-News 18

  • Verdict a setback to Dera chief but blind faith in godmen hard to end

    The Dera leader, said Amit Sehgal, a farmer, who lost his 20 acres of land to Singh’s sect, deliberately created an image of invincibility around himself and lived in his specially made Kali Goofa (Black Cave). Sehgal said he could enter the cave (read home) only once. The place resembled like the fabled Xanadu of Mandrake the Magician.

    "Turbo charged cars moved in top speed, doors opened like lightning, armed guards at regular interval changed swipe cards for further journey. I was driven in pitch dark tunnels lighting up from the friction of car tyres. And eventually, I was ushered into a room where he sat on the throne like Jabba the Hut (of Star Wars fame)."

    Read the full report here

  • 16:39 (IST)

    Who would be Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh's successor?

    Who will succeed Gurmeet Ram Rahim? Will it be his son Jasmeet Singh, the so-called daughter Honeypreet Insaan, who is part of the coterie in the Sirsa ashram or a dark horse from the management which takes care of day-to-day affairs of the Dera?

    Insider sources in the Sirsa Dera told Firstpost that Ram Rahim's son Jasmeet, who is married to former Punjab Congress legislator Harminder Singh Jassi's daughter, has an advantage with the Dera chief having anointed him successor in 2007.

    Within the Dera, Jasmeet is called shehzada and is regarded as a good person. But for his appointment, Ram Rahim will have to break a convention which specifies succession outside the family.

    Read the full article here 

  • 16:33 (IST)

    This is just the beginning. Should have got life imprisonment: Anshul Chhatrapati, son of whistleblower journalist murdered in 2002

  • Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh and the slew of cases against self-styled godman

    Ram Rahim Singh’s problems are going to compound in weeks and months to come. He is accused in serious crime cases. Two such cases are of his alleged complicity in the murder of journalist Ramchandra Chatrapati, who ran a local newspaper in Sirsa called `Poora Sach.’Chatrapati was killed in October 2002 after he had published a series of reports on rape of a woman follower by the Dera chief.

    Ram Rahim Singh is a suspect in the murder of Ranjit Singh, which is being investigated by the CBI. Singh too was murdered in 2002. In both these cases trial is in advance stage.

    Then there is a case of disappearance of a Dera manager named Fakir Chand. Another case against him is of forcing some sewadars in Dera to undergo castration. Now that Ram Rahim is in jail, there is a possibility that more eyewitnesses may come forward to testify against him in the ongoing cases. 

  • 16:22 (IST)

    No reports from violence so far since quantum of sentence announced; Dera supporters being ferried out of Sirsa HQ

  • 16:21 (IST)

    All phone lines at Dera headquarters cut: CNN-News 18

Maverick self-styled godman Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was on Friday convicted of rape by a court in Panchkula, triggering widespread violence and arson in Haryana where 30 people were killed and over 250 injured after which curfew was imposed in Panchkula and several other places.

Arson by the frenzied followers of the head of Dera Sacha Sauda was also witnessed in Delhi, Punjab and Rajasthan within a few hours of the pronouncement of the judgment by the CBI court here in the 2002 case.

CBI judge Jagdeep Singh held Ram Rahim, the 50-year-old flamboyant chief of the Dera, guilty of rape in a case that was registered on the basis of an anonymous written complaint in 2002 that he had sexually exploited two female followers.

 Panchkula violence as it happened: Death toll rises to 38; Ram Rahim Singh case verdict to be announced at 2.30 pm

At least 30 people were killed in the violence in Haryana. PTI

On the basis of the report, a case was registered against him in December 2002 by the CBI on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The quantum of sentence against Ram Rahim, who enjoys 'Z' category security, will be pronounced on 28 August, CBI counsel HPS Verma told reporters outside the court.

The punishment can be a jail term not less than seven years but may even extend to life imprisonment.

Ram Rahim travelled to the court from Sirsa, about 260 km from Chandigarh, in a huge convoy of vehicles which had his security guards and several followers.

As the news spread and his thousands of followers gathered near the Panchkula court went on the rampage, Ram Rahim was taken by a helicopter to a jail in Rohtak.

His followers, ironically called 'premis' (who believe in love), unleashed violence and set afire a large number of vehicles, buildings and railway stations in Panchkula, otherwise a peaceful city on the outskirts of Chandigarh, as well as in Sirsa, where the Dera is based, and in Punjab.

Media persons and assets were among the main targets of the mobs.

Police and paramilitary used force, including firing and lobbing teargas shells, to control the volatile situation created by the Dera followers who had gathered in thousands defying the prohibitory orders like Section 144 of the CrPC, which bars assembly of more than four people at one place.

"Seventeen people are dead and at least 200 are injured," said Vivek Bhadu, Chief Medical Officer at the civil hospital in Panchkula. He said most of the deaths were due to bullet injuries.

Haryana police chief BS Sandhu, however, said on Friday night that only six people had received bullet injuries.

Addressing a press conference, he said 60 policemen, including two SSPs, were also injured in the violence.

He said 550 people have been rounded up and three rifles, three pistols along with live cartridges have been recovered.

He said curfew, which was clamped in Panchkula in the evening, has been lifted but certain restrictions are still in place.

The DGP said Panchkula was now peaceful and all Dera supporters have moved out even as some restrictions were still in place. Flag marches will be carried out in Panchkula by security forces, he informed.

He said that except for Sirsa, where the sect is headquartered, situation in rest of Haryana is under control.

Another seven deaths were recorded at PGIMER hospital in Chandigarh and four at Government Medical College in Chandigarh, officials said. Two deaths were reported from Sirsa where seven were injured.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi condemned the violence, terming it as "deeply distressing" and urged everyone to maintain peace.

Modi, who reviewed the situation with National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi, said the law and order situation is being closely monitored.

"Urged officials to work round the clock to restore normalcy and provide all possible assistance that is required," he tweeted.

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, under attack over the situation, on Friday night admitted that there were lapses but asserted that appropriate action was being taken.

"This should not have happened... Lapses have been identified and we are taking appropriate steps," he told reporters, responding to a volley of questions.

"All those who have taken law into their hands will be punished. We have identified some culprits including those who fired (from the mob at security forces), some of whom have been nabbed and action will be taken against them," he said.

The government will assess the damage, he added.

Khattar ducked a question on how thousands of Dera followers managed to reach Panchkula despite Section 144 being imposed much earlier.

File image of Manohar Lal Khattar. PTI

File image of Manohar Lal Khattar. PTI

He said the damage caused to some media personnel's equipment during the violence in Panchkula will be taken care of by the government.

The state government will provide full compensation within a week to those persons whose property was damaged today, the chief minister said.

At least 32 incidents of violence and arson were reported from Malwa region of Punjab, police said. However, no casualty was reported.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said curfew has been imposed in 10 districts of Malwa region as a precautionary measure and appealed to the people to maintain peace.

"The Army is staging flag march in the curfew-bound areas of Punjab to restore the confidence of the people," he said.

In Punjab, Malout and Balluanna railway stations were partially torched, Northern Railway spokesperson Neeraj Sharma told PTI.

The Northern Railway had cancelled 211 trains to and from Haryana since 23 August up to 27 August. Of the total number of trains cancelled, 91 are Express trains and 120 are passenger trains.

The railways has also short terminated/short originated 24 trains.

"In all, the services of 236 trains have been affected one way or the other due to the law and order situation in Punjab-Haryana," Sharma said.

The unrest reached even Delhi where two coaches of a stationary train were set ablaze at Anand Vihar Railway Station, after which prohibitory orders were promulgated in 11 districts of the national capital.

In neighbouring Loni in Uttar Pradesh's Gaziabad district, a bus was set afire.

A vehicle was also set on fire by a group of people in Rajasthan's Sriganganagar, the birthplace of the Dera chief.

Following large scale destruction by the mobs, curfew was imposed in Panchkula, Sirsa and Kaithal in Haryana and Punjab's Mansa, Bathinda, Ferozepur, Patiala, Sangrur and Barnala and Faridkot, the areas considered as stronghold of the Dera followers.

Six columns of the Army, comprising a total of 500 to 600 soldiers, were deployed in Panchkula.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court, meanwhile, ruled that the losses caused due to the violence will be recovered from the Dera.

Hearing a PIL, the full bench of the court also asked the state to use force and weapons, if needed, to maintain peace.

The court will have further hearing in the matter tomorrow.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh called up chief ministers of Haryana and Punjab to take stock of the situation.

Singh, who rushed to his office directly from the airport after arriving from Kyrgyz Republic, assured them all assistance in restoring peace.

Singh also held a meeting with top officials and directed the central agencies to monitor the situation and apprise him regularly, said a home ministry official.

With inputs from agencies

Updated Date: Aug 28, 2017 22:43:40 IST