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Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh sentence hearing as it happened: Dera chief languishes alone in Rohtak jail

The special CBI judge will pronounce the sentence against the maverick Dera Sacha Sauda cult chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, who was convicted of raping his two women followers, in a Rohtak jail on Monday.

FP Staff August 28, 2017 22:42:52 IST
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Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh sentence hearing as it happened: Dera chief languishes alone in Rohtak jail

Highlights

13:31 (ist)

Villagers near Dera HQ arm themselves with bricks and sticks to take on violent premis

Fearing violence after Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh's sentencing in a rape case on Monday, a village close to the Dera Sacha Sauda headquarters readied itself to face angry followers with a stockpile of stones, sticks, bricks and iron rods.

PTI reported that villagers in Shahpur Beghu, 500 metres from the sprawling headquarters of the Dera, said they were fully prepared to face violent followers of the self-styled godman who was convicted of rape on 25 August.

12:56 (ist)

Liberal atmosphere, equality reason behind increasing number of followers

The Dera also insisted the followers to change their surnames to 'insan'. It was seen as a rule devised to spread across the message that the 'Dera' was more respectful of humanity than any other quality. No wonder then that the Dera had a substantial following among the people from the lower rungs of the much abhorred caste hierarchy. Apart from a liberal atmosphere, the Dera also seemed to have the promise of a new social status to its followers.

11:07 (ist)

Situation under control in Haryana, says Union home ministry

The Home Ministry said on Monday the situation in Haryana three days after the conviction of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, was still tense but under control.

"As per report dated 28 August, of DGP Control Room, Haryana, total casualties have been 35 with 17 in Panchkula, six in Sirsa and 12 in Chandigarh and total number of injured is 204," the Ministry said in a statement.

Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) remains imposed in all districts of Haryana. Columns of Army are doing flag march continuously,"  the statement added.

IANS

07:38 (ist)

Is Rohtak's situation similar to what it faced in 2016 violence?

Vinod, a local, compared the current situation in Rohtak with last year's violent protests by Jats for reservation. He said that security forces were on the ground last year too, but a mob would appear out of nowhere and tear the place down in no time. "Even recalling those scenes gives me a shudder," the apprehensive shopkeeper said.

Rohtak-based activist and member of the central committee of All India Democratic Women's Association, Jagmati Sangwan, too found the recent turmoil reminiscent of last year's violence.

"We don't want to see Rohtak burning again after the 2016 reservation stir," said anxious Sangwan, hoping that law would prevail on Monday.

She opined that the two women whose rape complaint has landed the Dera chief behind bars must be only the tip of the iceberg and that the list of Singh's victims must be longer.

Reported by Sat Singh, 101 reporters

18:18 (ist)

IG Police Rohtak, Navdeep Singh Virk says special courtroom has been made in Rohtak jail for sentencing 

Inspector General of Police, Rohtak Range, Navdeep Singh Virk addressed the press and said that a helicopter will land at a helipad near Sunaria jail. A special courtroom has been made in the prison to deliver the quantum of sentence. He corroborated the details that Haryana ADGP Mohammad Akil provided and said that the judgment will be announced at 2.30. When asked how the media will find out about the judgment, he said that arrangements have been made so that judges can give a byte to the press after the proceedings. 

Navdeep Singh added that entire police service in the city has been deployed and 23 paramilitary companies will be active in Rohtak. He also said that police personnel from nearby districts have been supplied to Rohtak. "We are 100 percent certain that no untoward incident will happen during the proceeding," he said. Regarding media reports that 10,000 to 15,000 Dera forces have allegedly snuck into Rohtak, he said that intelligence forces deny theses reports. 

Regarding the involvement of the Army, he said that the forces have not been called in and will mostly "not be required." He added that the Army conducted a recce of the area around the prison and that the forces are on standby. 

He added that Section 144 has been imposed but no curfew is in place in Rohtak and that authorities have made sure that daily life will not be interrupted in the city. He added that the court premises and the residence of the judges are protected and flag marches have also been held in the area.

17:29 (ist)

Haryana DGP addresses media, says 52 cases have been registered so far and 926 arrests have been made 

BS Sandhu, Haryana DGP said that a curfew has only been implemented in Sirsa and that no other location has a curfew in place now. He added that there is peace across the state and the top priority of the Haryana police is maintaining peace in the state. "The top priority now is to ensure that law and order is maintained when the sentencing of convicted Dera Sacha Sauda chief takes place in Rohtak tomorrow," he said.

 
Sandhu also assured that police protection will be provided to the media  and the police is prepared to handle any mob situations. “I assure you that the media is safe, we are part of the same system,” he said at the presser. 

He stated that police and paramilitary personnel have been deployed in Rohtak and army personnel are also on standby. Dera ashrams have been searched and 103 deras have been sanitized, he added. In terms of transportation, bus and railway services, especially from Delhi to Katra have been resumed. Trains towards Hisra and Rohtak have a few restrictions in place and schools will have a holiday in the state. 

He said that 52 cases have been registered so far and 926 people have been arrested. As for casualties, 38 people have died in the violence. 6 casualties are from Sirsa and 32 are from Panchkula. He added that all bodies in Sirsa have been identified, but in Panchkula, 24 have been identified through post-mortem, the rest are yet to be identified.

Of the 250 injured, Sandhu claims that only 17 people are admitted, out of which 14 are civilians and 3 are policemen.

Sat Singh from 101 reporters , adds that authorities have recovered 14 motorcycles, one tractor, four other two-wheelers and one car, besides, a large number of weapons and other objectionable items.

16:46 (ist)

Haryana Home Department orders suspension of mobile internet and SMS services in state until 29 August 

Haryana Government has extended the suspension of mobile internet services, including 2G, 3G, 4G, CDMA and GPRS, all SMS services and all dongle services provided on mobile networks, except voice calls, in the State till 11.30 am on 29 August, 2017. 
        

Besides, internet lease lines in the premises of Dera Sacha Sauda, Sirsa have been suspended until 29 August. Any person found guilty of violation of these orders would be liable for legal action.
        
While stating this in Chandigarh on Sunday, Additional Chief Secretary, Home Department, Ram Niwas, said that the orders had been issued under the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017, to prevent any disturbance of peace and public order in the State in view of quantum of punishment to be announced by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in the case of Dera Sacha Sauda Chief, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, on 28 August.   
        
“The orders have been taken considering the critical law and order situation and to maintain peace and communal harmony in the State, and to prevent any loss of life or further damage to public and private property. It has been reported by IG/CID that the situation is tense and violence may again continue for several days, especially on 28 August, when the quantum of punishment will be announced. Besides, it has been reported by Deputy Commissioner, Sirsa and Superintendent of Police, Sirsa that the devotees may resort to breach of peace and tranquillity, and arson leading to damage to public and private properties, Sirsa being the headquarters of Dera Sacha Sauda. Since the environment is tense, rumours of different kinds may be spread through broadband and internet lease lines in the premises of Dera Sacha Sauda,” he added.


        
Directions have also been issued to Haryana telecom service providers and those providing internet lease lines in the premises of Dera Sacha Sauda, Sirsa to ensure compliance with these orders. 

Reported by Sat Singh, 101 reporters

14:29 (ist)

Jain monk Tarun Sagar Maharaj calls Ram Rahim more dangerous than Osama Bin Laden

According to Amar Ujala, the Jain monk, who was controversially called for delivering a lecture in the Haryana Assembly last year, said that people like Ram Rahim kill the faith of crores of people. 

12:51 (ist)

Robert Vadra targets Manohar Lal Khattar government

Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar should resign taking responsibility for the violence that followed the conviction of Dera Sacha Sauda sect chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra said on Sunday.

"Panchkula is burning with 36 dead and 250 injured. My heartfelt condolences to the families of those affected... Khattar, the CM of Haryana, the nation wants you to take responsibility of security lapses and resign," Vadra tweeted.

Vadra lauded the Punjab and Haryana High Court order to compensate for the losses suffered in the violence by auctioning the Dera chief's property.

"I appreciate the Punjab and Haryana High Court for pulling up Khattar government (for) letting the situation escalate," he said.

He also accused the Bharatiya Janata Party government in the state of questioning his integrity and harassing him. Vadra said it was the time for the state government to prove its integrity and take responsibility for the "massacre".

"Time and again, Khattar government has witch-hunted me, questioned me and my integrity, harassed me, without basis. Today, I ask them to prove their integrity and take responsibility of a glaring massacre, which happened under their nose. The whole country is shocked. India's image across the world has taken a setback. Citizens need to unite and protect each other. I request the central government to give us our basic right of feeling safe and secure, ensuring such incidents of rioting do not occur again," he said.

IANS

12:31 (ist)

A bit of the idea of Deras in Punjab

According to The Indian Express, Deras are sects which came out of the failure of the Sikh religion to guarantee social equality. This is the reason why most of the members of the Deras belong to the Scheduled Caste community in Punjab. According to the The border state has the highest percentage of Dalit population in India: 29 percent. 

11:49 (ist)

Dera supporters being prevented from entering Rohtak

Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh will be sentenced inside the Rohtak jail on Monday. Keeping this in mind, the Rohtak Police has made thorough security arrangements to tackle any untoward incident. 

NDTV quoted Navdeep Singh Virk of Rohtak Police as saying, "A total of 28 paramilitary companies have been requested for security in the city ahead of Ram Rahim's sentencing and 23 have already been stationed; 5 are on their way." 

12:54 (ist)

A look at some cases against the Dera chief

Ranjit Singh murder case: Ram Rahim is charged with involvement in the murder conspiracy of Dera manager  Ranjit Singh in July 2002, allegedly killed by the Dera chief's supporters, according to a The Times of India report.

Ram Chander Chatterpati murder case: Sirsa-based journalist Chatterpati was killed on 23 October, 2002, for reporting about illegal activities inside the Dera headquarters and Ram Rahim was booked for alleged involvement in the murder conspiracy.

Army advisory: Army issued advisory in December 2010 about weapons training to Dera activists at Sirsa. High court issued notice to Haryana government and sought details

11:54 (ist)

Who is Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh?

He glides through the air dressed in pink robes in his promotional videos and in real life is known to ride powerful, souped up bikes to congregations, the persona as flashy as the vehicle itself.

Gurmeet Ram Rahim, head of the Dera Sacha Sauda sect who has two state governments on the edge as he awaits a verdict on a rape case, is not the regular godman in saffron but a curious amalgam of reel and real defying easy description.

His Twitter profile describes him as  "Spiritual Saint/Philanthropist/Versatile Singer/Allrounder Sportsperson/Film Director/Actor/Art Director/Music Director/Writer/Lyricist/Autobiographer/DOP".

For his followers, their leader is all this and more. The bejewelled head of the Sirsa headquartered sect, who turned 50 this Independence Day, holds sway over millions in Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan.

He was born in Sri Gurusar Modia village in Rajasthan's Sri Ganganagar district on 15 August, 1967, to a landlord father. An only child, Gurmeet helped his father in the farm in his early years.

Gurmeet, it is said, was always spiritual. When he was seven, he was picked out by Shah Satnam Singh, then head of the Dera Sacha Sauda in Sirsa, who anointed him Ram Rahim.

Sixteen years later, in 1990, Satnam Singh invited his disciples from all over the country for a grand satsang where 23-year-old Gurmeet Ram Rahim was chosen as his successor.

The Dera chief, who completed his high school, is married to Harjeet Kaur. They have two daughters, Charanpreet and Amanpreet, both of whom are married, and a son Jasmeet. He also adopted a girl.

The story also goes that he loved butter and ghee and took part in several sport activities.

Combining entrepreneurial skills with his  job as the spiritual head of the sect, he launched  his 'MSG' range of "swadeshi and organic" products about two years ago. — PTI

LIVE NEWS and UPDATES

Aug 28, 2017 - 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.

Aug 28, 2017 - 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. 

Aug 28, 2017 - 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.  

Aug 28, 2017 - 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

Aug 28, 2017 - 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

Aug 28, 2017 - 21:24 (IST)

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

Aug 28, 2017 - 21:23 (IST)

Delhi will continue to remain on high alert: Delhi Police

Aug 28, 2017 - 20:20 (IST)

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

Aug 28, 2017 - 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. 

Aug 28, 2017 - 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

Haryana was on edge on Sunday, a day before the special CBI judge pronounces the sentence against the maverick Dera Sacha Sauda cult chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, convicted of raping his two women followers, in a Rohtak jail on Monday.

CBI court judge Jagdeep Singh will be flown to Rohtak district jail where he would pronounce the quantum of sentence against Singh, whose conviction on Friday saw his followers run riot in several places in Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan. Ripples were also felt in Delhi and Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh.

The death toll in violence and arson that immediately followed the conviction of the flamboyant chief of the sect that has millions of followers in India and abroad, meanwhile, has risen to 38, state's Director General of Police BS Sandhu said.

Police have registered 52 cases in connection with the violence which left a trail of destruction, particularly in Panchkula and Sirsa in Haryana, and arrested 926 people, Sandhu told a press conference in Chandigarh.

A multi-layer security cordon has been thrown around the jail where Singh has been lodged, Sandhu said.

The jail is located at Sunaria, on the outskirts of Rohtak city, which resembles a garrison town with security pickets all over the place.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court had yesterday ordered the Haryana government to make necessary arrangements at the jail where the judge would sentence Singh in the 15-year-old case of sexual assault of two sadhvis.

Inspector General of Police (Rohtak range) Navdeep Virk, who is overseeing security arrangements in Rohtak, said there was a "complete clampdown" on dera centres known as (naam charcha ghar) and all its functionaries who could gather people for creating trouble have been put under detention in the state.

Sandhu, meanwhile said, Army was on standby in Rohtak to meet any eventuality.

Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) prohibiting assembly of five or more persons, and carrying of firearms and other weapons is already in place in Rohtak.

Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh sentence hearing as it happened Dera chief languishes alone in Rohtak jail

File image of violence in the aftermath of the Gurmeet Ram rahim Singh's verdict. Reuters

All educational institutions, including government and private schools, colleges and other institutions in the entire state, will remain closed on Monday, Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Ram Niwas said in an official release.

Sandhu said curfew has been lifted from all places in Haryana barring Sirsa, where the sect is heaquartered. Sirsa district administration relaxed curfew for five hours in and around the dera headquarters this morning.

There have been no reports of violence from anywhere in Haryana and Punjab since yesterday.

Train operations in Punjab and Haryana, severely affected by violence in two states, have been restored, except for the Delhi-Rohtak-Bathinda section, a railway ministry statement said in New Delhi.

The security clearance for the section is awaited from state authorities, it said.

Mobile internet services will remain suspended in Haryana and Punjab till 11:30 am on Tuesday. Internet lease lines on the premises of the Dera Sacha Sauda headquarters at Sirsa will also be suspended till then, officials said.

Security forces were on high alert in Haryana and strict vigil was being maintained in sensitive districts including Panchkula, Sirsa, Rohtak and Fatehabad, they said.

At many sensitive places in Punjab too, security forces conducted flag marches and kept a tight vigil in sensitive areas.

Four rifles, including an AK-47, pistols and petrol bombs were among the weapons seized from the supporters of the sect.

Two cases of sedition have been registered against Dera followers, police said without giving much detail as they have to submit a report to the high court on Tuesday.

Under attack over the massive violence, the Haryana government had suspended Ashok Kumar, the Deputy Commissioner of Police in Panchkula, saying his "defective" prohibitory orders allowed the crowd build-up in the district.

Meanwhile, authorities in Punjab and Haryana have started identifying movable and immovable assets of the cult on the directions of the high court, officials said.

Revenue officials of the two states are compiling details of properties and assets of the dera, a quasi-religious sect headed by Singh, who wields considerable political influence and instructs his followers which party to vote for during elections.

Banks have been asked to provide details of accounts of the dera.

"A list of the Dera's assets, incomes, bank accounts and properties is being prepared on a war footing," an official involved in the exercise in the twin states of Haryana and Punjab said.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has asked the two states to submit by Tuesday a list of the dera's properties and assets which can be attached in case it is found that they were responsible for property after Singh's conviction.

Sedition and attempt to murder charges have, meanwhile, been slapped against seven persons, including five Haryana police personnel, who were part of the Dera Sacha Sauda chief's security detail when he had arrived at the Panchkula CBI court on August 25.

"Sedition charge has been slapped against seven persons, including five Haryana police personnel," Karambir Singh, Inspector, Panchkula Police (Sector-5), said today.

They have also been accused of attempt to murder, he added.

The seven securitymen accompanying Singh had allegedly tried to free him when the self-styled godman was brough outside the Panchkula court complex on Friday after the special CBI court convicted him. A scuffle had broken out between them and Haryana police personnel.

With inputs from PTI

Updated Date:

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