NEW DELHI: Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was sentenced today to 10 years in prison for rape, as security forces in Haryana and Punjab went on high alert to prevent possible violence by his followers.
The sentence was passed by Jagdeep Singh, a special CBI judge, in a makeshift court in the Sunaria jail where Ram Rahim, 50, had been lodged since his conviction on Friday.
Ram Rahim broke down and asked for forgiveness with folded hands when the sentence was read out. He then refused to leave the court room, in the jail library, said the report. There were no immediate reports of violence. At least 38 people were killed and hundreds injured on Friday in Haryana and Punjab, which had seen widespread violence by his followers after his conviction on Friday. Most of the dead were shot by police who had opened fire to quell the protests.
To avoid more trouble it was decided that CBI Judge Jagdeep Singh should pronounce the sentence in the jail, rather than bring Ram Rahim back to his court in Panchkula, near Chandigarh. Singh arrived in Rohtak in a helicopter, landing on a helipad near the jail located on the outskirts of Rohtak. The judge awarded the 10-year jail term after hearing arguments on the quantum of sentence by prosecution and defence lawyers.
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To ensure peace, Arrny is currently doing flagmarch in Dera stronghold of Sirsa.
Court slams prosecution and says why was Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh given VVIP treatment. While being taken away to jail, Dera Chief continued sobbing, saying ” Koi mujhe bacha lo“.
Haryana CM Khattar calls emergency meeting after Dera chief sentencing.
According to reports, Dera Sacha Sauda chief to pay Rs 55,000, Rs 10,000, Rs 5000, to three rape victims.
Medical examination of Ram Rahim Singh is being done, after this he will be given a jail uniform and will be allotted a cell in jail.
“The sentence must be accepted by people and peace must prevail. There is total normalcy, our forces are on their toes. Will not let any untoward incident happen,” says Punjab CM Amarinder Singh.
Dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh being forcefully removed from court by security personnel.
CBI counsel calls it triumph of good over evil, says court has set a precedence. “Would have been happier if it was life term. Will move for enhancement. Battle still on,” says CBI counsel.
Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh breaks down after being sentenced to jail for 10 years
Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim sentenced to 10 years in jail.
Dera Sacha Sauda spokesperson asks followers to remain calm before quantum of sentence is announced.
Meanwhile, Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh is holding a security review meeting with DGP, Chief Secy and other senior officials.
Quantum of sentence being read out in court.
Gurmeet Ram Rahim reportedly requested the judge with folded hands to show a little mercy. Reports say he was also sobbing.
Arguments over, sentencing to be pronounced shortly.
According to sources, the Defence is seeking leniency citing “poor health”, “public figure”, “prominent personality” besides the Dera chief’s “philanthropic work” for society.
Prosecution demands maximum punishment for rape convict.
Special CBI judge Jagdeep Singh has allotted 10 minutes each to both sides to put forth their arguments.
Court convenes. Nine people inside the court including Jagdeep Singh, two court staff, CBI counsel, two CBI officials, defence counsel SK Narwana and one assistant.
CBI judge Jagdeep Singh reaches Rohtak’s Sonaria jail.
CBI counsel HPS Verma reiterates that he will press for life term for the controversial Dera chief.
Judge Jagdeep Singh held court in Panchkula in the morning and disposed off matters listed today before flying off to Rohtak from Chandigarh airport.
Meanwhile, media reports say that the adopted daughter of the Dera chief Honeypreet Insan, who accompanied him in a chopper to Rohtak from Panchkula after the verdict had also stayed in the jail for 2.5 hours. The jail DG later objected and then she was taken away, a journalist said speaking to ANI. This reportedly did not go down well with Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.
The judge is expected to land shortly at a makeshift helipad in Rohtak. The chopper ride from Panchula is about 40 mins.
Forces as far as 7km around Sunaria jail, upto Bhiwani-Jhajjar highway. The jail, was earlier located inside the city, which was dismantled and Sunaria was constructed on the Delhi-Hisar highway.
All vehicles entering Rohtak, from Hisar, Panipat, Jhajjar, Bhiwani and other areas are being thoroughly checked. People are being frisked, their identity cards being checked. Sources say that women’s bags are also being scrutinised thoroughly and travellers are being asked to make security forces speak over the phone to relatives who they are claiming to visit.
CBI judge Jagdeep Singh leaves for Rohtak’s Sunaria jail in a helicopter ahead of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh sentencing.
Proceedings expected to start at 2:30 pm, Verdict expected by 4 pm today
More people likely to be taken into preventive custody in Rohtak. Current number 102.
Reports coming in say all Dera centres in Rohtak have been sealed.
However, the Panchkula district court continues to be a fortress. Thorough checking of all vehicles entering the premises including those of lawyers. Not much forces elsewhere in the city.
Meanwhile, life limps towards normalcy in Panchkula. Schools, colleges closed, but government offices back to work
Around 100 objectionable items have been recovered from Sonipat’s Bahalgarh Dera.
Security has also been tightened in Punjab, where a lot of Dera supporters also reside.
Rohtak Superintendent of Police (SP) Pankal Nain said, “All roads to the Sonaria Jail have been sealed and the morale of the police is pretty good.”
Meanwhile, sadhus in Varanasi are demanding that Dera Sacha Sauda chief be given the capital punishment.
Navdeep Singh Virk, IGP Rohtak Range has said that they have made sure that no Dera follower is allowed to enter the entire Rohtak district or move near jail area.
“We have also provided different arrangements for the media, so that they can do their work and we can provide them with enough security,” he said.
Delhi Police PRO Madhur Verma has urged people not to believe social media rumors. “Schools are open, no need to panic, Delhi Police has made proper arrangements and deployment. Additional forces mobilized. There are no metro rail diversions or restrictions,” he said.
Visuals from Barnala Railway station
Security has also been enhanced outside CM Manohar Lal Khattar’s residence
After being caught on the wrong foot on Friday, the Haryana govt has issued strict instructions to tighten security ahead of the sentencing today.
There seems to be no end to the Baba’s cult following
Shoot at sight orders in Rohtak. Residents stay indoor. Shops and schools closed. Rohtak had also suffered the maximum brunt during the Jat reservation