- Special court announced verdict in case against Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh
- Religious leader held guilty in rape case
- Indian Railways suspend services keeping security in mind
Chandigarh, August 25, 2017: The states of Punjab and Haryana have been brought to a standstill. It is a big day for the Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh ji Insaan and his thousands of devotees as a special CBI court announced its verdict in the 15-year old rape case filed against him. State authorities fear that the decision can lead to possible agitation for which stringent security arrangements have been put in place.
The rape allegations against the religious leader go as far back as 2002 when a Dera sadhvi alleged, in an anonymous letter to the then-Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee that the chief had raped her and several other female followers. The court today held the self-declared spiritual guru guilty of the charges filed against him, the sentence hearing for which will now be held on August 28.
Rahim, who arrived in a 200-car convoy to the court today in Panchkula drew enormous support from his followers, who had blocked the roads days ahead of the verdict.
A heavy mantle of security forces had been deployed in Punjab and Haryana ahead of the CBI’s verdict with as many as 53 companies of the paramilitary forces and 50,000 Haryana Police officers deployed on duty. Section 144 (curbing mass mobilization) has additionally been imposed by the Punjab government forcing schools and colleges to keep shut until August 28.
Following a formal request from the state governments of the two states, the Northern Railway also decided to stall their services. Over 89 trains that include passenger trains and express trains, have been cancelled to keep the law and order situation in Haryana under check.
Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) Ambala Division, Dinesh Kumar in an interview with Chandigrah Newsline said, “On Friday, 44 trains will be cancelled in Ambala division and more trains will remain cancelled on Saturday (Aug 26) and Sunday (Aug 27)”.
Security concerns have affected all possible means of travel in and around Punjab and Haryana as effects have also been observed on air and cab fares. According to a report by ANI, the air fare from Delhi to Chandigarh has gone up to almost Rs.11, 000.
The Dera Sacha Sauda chief had previously released a video on August 24 requesting supporters to keep peace and return back to their home.
However, the swarms of his followers have largely ignored the appeal as routes connecting the states to Panchkula remain blocked.
Following the court’s verdict, mass reactions have been observed among the leader’s followers who wept, fainted, and created a huge violent ruckus raising security concern in multiple towns. Major towns in Haryana and Punjab continue to remain on lockdown for the day.
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