In a 15-year old rape case, Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, 50, was on August 25 convicted by a special CBI court in Panchkula, Haryana. After the verdict,¬†he was taken into custody by the Haryana Police.
Ram Rahim is likely to face minimum seven-year of imprisonment.
He was guilty of raping two female followers (sadhvis).
The CBI had filed a FIR against Ram Rahim in 2002 and the case came to trial in 2008.
The sentence will be announced on August 28. Reports suggest that the self-styled¬†godman will be taken to Rohtak jail.
The decision came as a big set back to thousands of followers of Ram Rahim who have gathered in Panchkula for last two days. Over 15,000 paramilitary personnel were deployed in Punjab and Haryana.
While both the states have been in heavy lockdown, nearly 89 trains in the Ambala division of¬†the Northern Railway were also¬†cancelled.
According to latest reports, some incidents of violence have been reported from different areas of Haryana and Punjab.
Earlier in the day, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar asked Dera Chief’s followers to maintain peace.
‚ÄúOnce the verdict comes, whatever situation arises, to deal with that, every possible arrangement has been made,‚ÄĚ Khattar said in a video message. ‚ÄúI appeal to people of Haryana, especially Dera ‚Äėpremis‚Äô (followers) to maintain peace and brotherhood,‚ÄĚ he added.
Yesterday night Gurmeet Ram Rahim had released a video asking his followers to abide by the law.
¬†The spiritual sect,¬†Dera Sacha Sauda was established by Mastaa Balochistani on 29 April 1948. The headquarters is located in Sirsa district of Haryana, but there are over 46 ashrams across the country.
On the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, in 2012, CBI had registered a case of sexual exploitation against the Dera chief after anonymous letters were circulated about the alleged sexual exploitation of two ‚Äėsadhvis‚Äô (female followers) by Ram Rahim Singh.