Dera chief in Panchkula court, CBI Judge Jagdeep Singh reading order; decision anytime soon

DN Bureau

Hearing begins in rape case against Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh at CBI Court. Army columns moved into Panchkula as scores of Dera Sacha Sauda followers gathered in the town ahead of a court verdict in a rape case against the sect chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.

Tight security ahead of court verdict
Tight security ahead of court verdict

Chandigarh: Dera Chief Ram Rahim Singh reaches at Panchkula's Special CBI Court. Army columns moved into Panchkula early today as scores of Dera Sacha Sauda followers gathered in the town ahead of a court verdict in a rape case against the sect chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.

Singh left Sirsa by road for Panchkula to appear before a special CBI court in the sexual exploitation case against him.

Also Read: Delhi on high alert as violence breaks out in Haryana and Punjab

The Haryana Police assisted by central forces was involved in an operation to flush out scores of Dera followers even as 50-year-old Singh made a video appeal to his followers to return home.

The Army was deployed in Panchkula early today, officials said.

The Army was called out at Panchkula and Sirsa as thousands of Dera followers had gathered and tension prevailed in the region.

Also Read: Ram Rahim verdict: Violence in Panchkula, police, media attacked

 

"At the sect headquarters at Sirsa, police and paramilitary forces took out a flag march past midnight to enforce the curfew clamped at 10 PM (yesterday) for an indefinite period," Sirsa SP Ashwin Shenvi said.

The Dera followers made it to Panchkula over the past three days despite prohibitory orders under CrPC Section 144 being in force.

However, speaking to reporters in Panchkula late last night, a senior police official said that restrictions regarding carrying of weapons was earlier imposed under Section 144, which was later on amended and a provision invoked banning assembly of five or more persons.

Security forces were faced with a tough situation as many Dera followers remained reluctant to move, saying they had come to the town on their own and would move only after having sect head's "darshan".

The Dera followers could be seen occupying parks, roads and other available places like under the flyovers to pitch their tents.

Also Read: Dera followers go on the rampage-Death toll rises to 20, morethan 100 injured

However, authorities said that they had sealed the road leading to the district court complex and nobody was being allowed on that route.

Authorities used loud speakers to appeal to followers to move out of Panchkula.

The sexual exploitation case was registered against Dera chief in 2002 by the CBI on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court after anonymous letters were circulated about the alleged sexual exploitation of two 'Sadhvis' (female followers) by Singh.

Also Read: Dera Sacha Sauda activists indulge in acts of vandalism, Punjab, Haryana CMs appeal for calm

However, the sect head has denied these charges. (ANI)

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