Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh convicted in rape case, sentencing on August 28

Saturday, 26 Aug, 2017

He was immediately taken into judicial custody following the verdict. The quantum of punishment will be decided on 28 August.

However, he has been constantly denying the charges, claiming that he is a faithful follower of the law.

The rape allegation was first made by a female disciple in an anonymous letter to then-prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee in 2002, according to India's Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

The Dera followers, in thousands, had gathered in Panchkula from various areas of Punjab and Haryana ahead of Friday's court verdict, in brazen violation of orders banning the assembly of more than four people.

Hundreds of vehicles were gutted down by Dera chief's followers across Haryana and Punjab. Reports suggest that the self-styled godman will be taken to Rohtak jail. Police also resorted to lathicharge and fired live bullets in the air to disperse the violent crowds.

Once the verdict was given, Ram Rahim Singh was examined by doctors.

Supporters rampaged in response, attacking railway stations, petrol stations and television vans in towns across Punjab and Haryana, witnesses said. Maharaj added that if the situation worsens, it should not be the state but the court that is held responsible for more violence. Cities of Barnala, Malota, Sirsa and other cities.

The BJP MP from UP's Unnao said that conviction of Ram Rahim is a conspiracy to defame the Indian culture. However, one of them went on to justify the rape saying it would "purify" her.

They also attacked garages, TV trucks, police and journalists in towns across India's northern states of Punjab and Haryana.

On September 24, 2002, the High Court asked the CBI to investigate the case against the Dera chief. He said curfew, which was clamped in Panchkula in the evening, has been lifted but certain restrictions are still in place.

Officers said more than 1,000 of the guru's supporters had been detained in Panchkula on charges of arson and destruction of public property. He had called on his followers through a video message to remain peaceful. There are 24 "Deras" in Sriganganagar and Hunumangarh districts, where a large number of Dera followers reside.