Dera chief Ram Rahim rape conviction: Death toll rises to 28, 250 people injured in violence
New Delhi: Followers of self-styled spiritual guru Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh turned violent on Friday after he was found guilty of raping two women followers by a Panchkula court and convicted.
28 people have reportedly died and 250 are injured in the violence in Panchkula, according to sources.
Punjab and Haryana High court has ordered seizure of Ram Rahim’s properties to compensate the loss incurred by the violence triggered by his followers post court’s verdict.
As news of the conviction came in, thousands of followers waiting near the court broke down police barricades and threw stones, attacking OB vans of news channels, as per sources.
More than a lakh followers of Ram Rahim, 50, who heads the Dera Sacha Souda sect, have been camped in Panchkula, about 11 km from Chandigarh, for the past two days.
There are reports of violence in other parts Panchkula and other cities in Punjab and Haryana. A petrol pump and part of a train station have reportedly been set on fire in Malaout in Punjab. There is curfew in the state’s Bhatinda town.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has appealed for peace.
2 empty rakes of Rewa Express at Anand Vihar Terminal railway station set on fire.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been briefed on the violence; Home Minister Rajnath Singh has spoken to the Chief Ministers of the two worst-affected states, Punjab and Haryana.
A bus and train have been set on fire in Delhi. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal appealed for calm; the capital has been placed on high alert. The police in its satellite city of Gurgaon said the area is calm.