At least 17 people were reportedly killed and over 200 injured in Panchkula violence that took place after Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was pronounced guilty of rape by the special CBI court in Panchkula, on Friday. He was taken into judicial custody and the quantum of setence will be announced on Monday, August 28.
The Dera chief had been present when the judgement was being read out. A rape conviction carries a minimum sentence of seven years and a maximum of 10 years, read a Times of India report.
Despite massive security arrangements, Panchkula turned into a war zone after the Dera Sacha Sauda Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was found guilty of rape by the special CBI court, on Friday.
The rioters set on fire two railway stations, a power grid and petrol pumps in Haryana. In Anand Vihar railway station, they torched two coaches of a train and two buses.
Several trains from Delhi to Punjab and Haryana have been cancelled. Lakhs of Dera followers had gathered at Singh's sect 'Naam Ghar Charcha' in Panchkula days ahead of the verdict.
The CBI filed had filed an FIR against Singh after two of his 'sadhvis' (female followers) accused him of raping them in 2002. The case came to trial in 2008. The verdict was announced on Friday.
Here are all the LIVE updates:
6.45 pm IST: Punjab government has asked Central Govt for more security forces in view of violence at different places, reported ANI.
6.42 pm IST: There are no gatherings anywhere at present and situation is under control, Madhur Verma, Delhi Police PRO told ANI. He further added that three miscreants have been arrested, patrolling is being done in different areas.
6.35 pm IST: Section 144 imposed in Uttar Pradesh's Muzaffarnagar and Baghpat, reported ANI.
6.28 pm IST: High Court orders security cover for judges, top govt officials, reported Firstpost. Also, Haryana CM ML Khattar has warned that action will be taken against those taking law in their hands.
6.23 pm IST: The situation is now under control and the protesters have dispersed, Haryana DGP BS Sandhu told ANI.
6.19 pm IST: Death toll rises to 17. .
6.13 pm IST: Police carried out Flag March in Haryana's Sirsa.
6.12 pm IST: Punjab and Haryana High Court say that properties of Ram Rahim Singh should be attached to pay for the losses due to violence, ANI reported.
6.09 pm IST: LIC building was torched in Panchkula. Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal appeals to the people to stay calm.
I urge everyone to stay calm and maintain peace— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) August 25, 2017
5.49 pm IST: Death toll rises to 13 in Panchkula violence, Firstpost reported.
5.44 pm IST: Meanwhile, Home Minister Rajnath Singh tried to defend Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar, according to CNN News 18. Singh had reportedly said that in a democracy, state cannot restrict the movement of people who are unarmed and moving about peacefully. It was after the verdict that the mob turned violent and the state administration cannot be blamed for the same.
5.41 pm IST: A bus was set ablaze near Babu Jagjivan Ram Memorial Hospital in Delhi.
5.40 pm IST: Recently, a bus was set on fire by 2 persons in Loni in Ghaziabad.
5.38 pm IST: Meanwhile here's a video on Dera Sacha followers turning violent and toppling the media van near Panchkula's special CBI court.
5.36 pm IST: Two empty rakes of Rewa Express at Anand Vihar Terminal railway station set on fire, Northern Railway Spox Neeraj Sharma told ANI
5.26 pm IST: Panchkula mob has partially dispered while the supporters in Sirsa refuse to move despite deployment of army.
5.24 pm IST: Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar has assured of tough action
5.21 pm IST: Omar Abdullah, former CM of Jammu and Kashmir, questioned the response of the security forces in combating the violence in Haryana.
No human shields in Panchkula? Tried & tested crowd control technique much appreciated in many TV news studios not long ago.— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) August 25, 2017
PM Modi should sack his Haryana CM for gross dereliction of duty. The CM had more than enough time to prepare for this eventuality.— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) August 25, 2017
5.06 pm IST: Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh has been shifted to an undisclosed location while Dera supporters bring down law and order in Haryana, reported India Today. Six army columns have been deployed in Panchkula post conviction of Dera Chief Ram Rahim Singh, ANI reported.
4.50 pm IST: Death rises to 11 and more than 150 people are reportedly injured. Home Minister calls CM Manohar Lal Khattar with police failing to control the violence, reported Firstpost.
4.42 pm IST: Dera supporters attempt to torch Panchkula Income Tax office, reported CNN News 18. Eight people killed and over 100 hundred injured in the Panchkula violence. Hospitals are flooded with injured and the situation is escalating quickly, reported Firstpost.
4.34 pm IST: Sangrur power grid has been set ablaze and three dera supporters reportedly killed so far, according to a Firstpost report. However, Hindustan Times reported that five people have been killed in the clash between police and Dera supporters.
4.32 pm IST: Heavy force has been deployed in Sirsa, Haryana as the crowd turns violent. Rapid action force has also reached Haryana, reported ANI.
4.25 pm IST: Security alert has been issued at Delhi borders taking into account the violence that is happening in Panchkula.
4.16 pm IST: Curfew has been imposed in Mansa. Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh airlifted to Rohtak jail while mob turns violent in Haryana post Dera chief's conviction, reported Firstpost. ANI shared pictures of a cameraperson injured during the violence
4.15 pm IST: Ten people injured in violent protests have been shifted to a hospital in Sector 6 Panchkula.
3.58 pm IST: Malout Railway Station and petrol pump have been set on fire by protesters in Punjab after the Ram Rahim verdict. Similar incidents have also been reported from Bathinda. Delhi has been put on high alert and curfew imposed in Bathinda and Punjab.
3.49 pm IST: ANI reporter say that tear gas and lathicharge in Sector 5 Panchkula as crowd turns violent. Also, live bullets fired in the air to disperse crowds.
ANI reporters witness: Tear Gas & lathicharge in Sector 5 Panchkula as crowds turn violent, Live bullets fired in the air to disperse crowds— ANI (@ANI) August 25, 2017
3.44 pm IST: Police fire tear gas shells on Dera protesters in Panchkula, reported ANI. Punjab CM appeals to all Punjabis to maintain peace & harmony in state.
3.40 pm IST: Media vans have been attacked in Panchkula. On the contrary, IGP Amitabh Singh Dhillon told ANI that everything is perfectly under control.
3.31 pm IST: Power has been cut off across Haryana, reported Firstpost
3.28 pm IST: The army has taken Ram Rahim Singh into preventive custody and the dera chief will be lodged in Ambala Central prison. Media persons have been moved out of Dera headquarters after the news of Ram Rahim's conviction spread, Firstpost reported.
3.08 pm IST: Quantum of sentence to be announced on August 28, reported ANI. Haryana police has taken Ram Rahim into custody.
3.03 pm IST: Panchkula's Special CBI Court finds Dera Chief Ram Rahim Singh guilty of rape.
2.56 pm IST: Power supply has been cut in Panchkula to ensure information blackout amidst dera supporters, Firstpost reported.
2.25 pm IST: Haryana CM ML Khattar has asked the Dera followers to stay calm. He further said that whatever be the verdict, it will be implemented.
2.08 pm IST: To ensure that Ram Rahim was shifted to a safe place after the verdict, the judgement may not be disclosed for about an hour after the verdict is announced, CNN News 18 reported. Meanwhile, here's a glimpse of a convoy of over 100 cars after Section 144 was imposed.
1.51 pm IST: Utsav Bains, the lawyer for victims in the rape case said that if the sect chief is acquitted then the case could be shifted to another state, CNN News 18 reported. The lawyer has further mentioned that the victim has been very disturbed for the past few days.
1.44 pm IST: Over 200 trains to Punjab and Haryana have been cancelled between August 24-28, reported Times of India quoting TV reports. Also, parliamentary forces are guarding every entry point of the court.
1.39 pm IST: Patiala deputy commissioner has ordered a curfew to be imposed within 1 km of Punjab CM Amrinder Singh's residence in Patiala, a Hindustan Times report said.
1.35 pm IST: Ram Rahim reaches Panchkula court. Only two cars from his convoy were allowed into the court premises. Section 144 imposed in Hanumangarh too.
12:43 pm IST:
Punjab & Haryana HC to Haryana govt - Use force if needed, file FIR against leaders if they make provocative statements #RamRahimVerdict
— ANI (@ANI) August 25, 2017
12:30 pm IST: Railways has said that as many as 236 trains will be affected from August 24-27. A total of 211 trains have been cancelled. At least 25 short-distance trains have been cancelled or diverted.
List of trains affected due to Law & Order situation in Haryana & Punjab. Other trains (not in list) are running.@RailMinIndia @GM_NRly pic.twitter.com/RS7NbUAjSs — Northern Railway (@RailwayNorthern) August 25, 2017
12:27 pm IST: The Punjab and Haryana High Court has told the Haryana Government to file cases against religious leaders if they make provocative statements and also to use force if necessary just in case any untoward incident happens.
The court also lauded the media for showing restraint and giving 'the true picture'.
12:15 pm IST: Former Haryana CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda has appealed to people to maintain peace. "Want to appeal to people of Haryana to maintain peace," he was quoted as saying by ANI.
According to Hindustan Times, Singh stopped at Kaithal to eat breakfast. He is expected to make a stop again in Kurukshetra.
12:10 pm IST: Security around the CBI court in Panchkula has been beefed up. Three layers of security, comprising 150 personnel of the Haryana Police and paramilitary forces, have been deployed.
12:05 pm IST: Director General of CRPF RR Bhatnagar told News18: "Local agencies have conducted a ground-level assessment. On Ministry of Home Affairs' instructions, we have deployed riot action force. We are taking all steps to ensure that the situation does not get out of hand."
"In law and order situations, it is the local authorities who will have to take the final call. There are sops which have been laid down, which we shall follow. The decisive moment will be when the judgment is announced. We will move accordingly then," he added.
11:54 am IST:
— ANI (@ANI) August 25, 2017
11:45 am IST: The police in Gurugram will hold a flag march shortly.
DCP traffic told CNN-News18: "A total of four companies will be involved. Haryana police have been deployed in large numbers. We will check our anti-riot equipment. Company Commander should ensure all the equipment are in place. Instructions will be given for immediate action if anyone takes law and order in their own hands. All personnel are instructed to be on the duty with anti-riot equipment."
11:25 am IST:
— ANI (@ANI) August 25, 2017
10:54 am IST:
— ANI (@ANI) August 25, 2017
10:35 am IST: Singh's followers tried to stop his convoy from leaving the sect headquarters in the morning. Many fainted and wept as his cavalcade left for the court.
10:18 am IST: The Haryana government has imposed an indefinite curfew in Sirsa and a 72-hour ban on mobile internet services, except voice calls, as a precautionary measure ahead of the verdict.
At least 72 trains have been cancelled in view of the law and order situation, the Indian Express reported. The Centre has also assured adequate security in both Punjab and Haryana.
9:54 am IST: All shops, movie theatres, petrol pumps and ATMs located close to the Dera Sacha Sauda headquarters in Sirsa, Haryana, have been shut down. Barricades have been put up in several places with the police having barred vehicles from moving towards the sect headquarters.
9:35 am IST: Around 65 CRPF personnel, 10 BSF companies, and 57,000 police officials have been deployed in Chandigarh and Panchkula ahead of the verdict in the rape case against Singh. Leaves of all police officials were cancelled and those on leave were asked to join immediately.
At least 40 duty magistrates have been appointed in Gurugram to deal with any situation that may follow the CBI court's verdict on the rape case against Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.
9:20 am IST: Singh has left for the CBI court in Panchkula, which will deliver its verdict in the rape case against him today.
The Dera Sacha Sauda chief left the sect-headquarters in Sirsa at around 9 am amid tight security. He is also being accompanied by several of his own security guards in a 100-car convoy.
Over 20 companies of paramiliatry forces have been deployed along the route, the Indian Express reported.
— ANI (@ANI) August 25, 2017
9:10 am IST: The Punjab and Haryana High Court had rapped up the state government for not having imposed Section 144 to prohibit groups of over five people to gather at one place.
The court had said: ""We want preventive action and it is visible in none of the state's orders. It is really disheartening. The same thing happened during the Jat agitation. You are encouraging them. Where is the order prohibiting the assembly of five and more? We asked you to get the order. These are the basic preventive measures even for a simple law and order problem. You then cry before the Centre on the gravity of the situation but who has created the gravity."
9:02 am IST: Singh, who will appear in a CBI court in Panchkula today in connection with a rape case filed against him, had confirmed his presence through Twitter on Thursday.
He said: "I have always respected the law. Even though I am having a backache, still abiding by law, I will go to court (tomorrow). I have full faith in God. Everyone should maintain peace."
हमने सदा क़ानून का सम्मान किया है।हालाँकि हमारी back में दर्द है,फिर भी क़ानून की पालना करते हुए हम कोर्ट ज़रूर... https://t.co/KpTEsCSiUV
— Dr.GURMEET RAM RAHIM (@Gurmeetramrahim) August 24, 2017
8:55 am IST: Following the trial, the complainant had alleged, "My life has changed after I gave the statement. I can't move freely. There is danger to my life. I am also apprehensive about lives of my family members. Nothing can happen in the dera without permission of the 'Baba' because of his terror. I have heard that if somebody speaks against the Guru, he should be lynched. The followers take his preachings as message of God. The dera chief gives money to followers if they influence their relatives and others to join the dera."
8:36 am IST: Laks of followers of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh have gathered in Panchkula ahead of the verdict in a rape case against him.
A high alert has been sounded in PUnjab and Haryana while all schools in both states have been told to remain shut. Mobile internet services have been banned while WhatsApp groups, Facebook and Twitter are being monitored to make sure fake news is not circulated.