A special CBI court in Panchkula convicted Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh and three others on Friday in the murder case of journalist Ram Chander Chhatrapati. The sentence will be pronounced on January 17.
The Dera Sacha Sauda chief, who was convicted for rape, appeared in court from Rohtak’s Sunaria jail through video conferencing. The Haryana government had filed an application for attendance through video conferencing recalling the violence of August 2017, when over 40 people were killed following his conviction in the rape of two women.
The 51-year-old self styled godman is currently serving a 20-year-prison term in Rohtak’s Sunaria jail for raping two of his women followers. He was convicted in August 2017 following which widespread violence had broken out which left over 40 people dead and several more injured. In view of this, security has been tightened especially in Panchkula, Sirsa (headquarter of Dera) and Rohtak districts with several companies of the state armed police, anti-riot police and commando force being deployed to deal with any law and order situation.
According to a police official, directions were issued to police in all the districts to not allow any unnecessary gathering and maintain extra vigil. Police nakas have also been laid at several places. An additional police force has also been deployed near the headquarters of Dera Sacha Sauda in Sirsa in Haryana, police said.
Violence had erupted in Panchkula and Sirsa in Haryana in August 2017 following the conviction of Dera sect head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, leaving over 40 persons dead and scores of people injured.
In Punjab where there are sizeable numbers of Dera followers, elaborate security arrangements have been made in Bathinda and Ferozepur ranges.
“We have made elaborate security arrangements in Bathinda range,” said Punjab Inspector General (Bathinda Range) M F Farooqui was quoted by PTI.
Journalist Ramchandra Chatrapathi Chhatrapati was shot at in October 2002 after his newspaper, ‘Poora Sach’, published an anonymous letter narrating how women were being sexually exploited by Gurmeet Ram Rahim at the Dera headquarters in Sirsa.
The journalist later succumbed to injuries and a case was registered in 2003. The case was handed over to the CBI in 2006. On Tuesday, the special CBI court in Panchkula had accepted the state’s plea and allowed the presence of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh through video conferencing for a January 11 hearing in the murder case of a journalist. Gurmeet Ram Rahim will appear through video conferencing for the hearing.
—India Legal Bureau