Rape convict Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was on Monday sentenced to 20 years jail for the rape and criminal intimidation of two female disciples.
The sect chief has been sentenced to 10 years imprisonment in each of the two cases of rape. Both sentences will run consecutively. The court also imposed a fine of Rs 30 lakh on the sect chief. The rape victims will get Rs 14 lakh each as compensation from this amount.
Earlier, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) special court judge Jagdeep Singh, on Friday held the Dera chief guilty of rape and criminal intimidation of the two female disciples in 2002.
The quantum of sentence was done in a court being specially set up inside the District Jail premises in Sunaria near Rohtak, 70 km from Delhi, where Ram Rahim was brought and lodged after his conviction.
Reportedly, there was drama inside the special court near Rohtak as the convicted sect chief broke down and pleaded with folded hands before the judge.
After the sentence was announced, Ram Rahim sat down on the floor and wept. He was taken away by jail wardens.
The sect chief has been convicted of two counts of rape (Section 376 IPC), criminal intimidation (Section 506 IPC) and Section 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman).
Security arrangements have been beefed up with Rohtak jail turning into a virtual fortress and District Jail at Sunaria being the epicenter.
An uneasy calm prevailed in Punjab and Haryana on Monday after arson and riots by Dera supporters leading to at least 36 deaths and over 300 injured following the verdict that pronounced the controversial ‘godman’ guilty of raping and sexually exploiting two female disciples.
Highlights of the day:
7: 31 PM IST | Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar has said the situation in the state is peaceful. He warned that strict action will be taken against those who try to disturb peace.
06: 56 PM IST | It will be 20-year jail term for Ram Rahim Singh in two different cases of rape and not ten years as understood earlier.
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06: 41 PM IST | Ram Rahim Singh’s lawyer has said they will read the judgement in detail and appeal in the higher courts.
06: 25 PM IST | Curfew will be imposed in Barnala from 9 PM on Monday to 9 AM on Tuesday, SSP Barnala, Harjeet Singh has informed the media.
05: 28 PM IST | Addressing a press conference post Ram Rahim Singh’s sentencing, Haryana Police said no incident of violence was reported. The police added that more than 1000 people were still inside the Dera HQs, but the number has come down significantly.
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05: 21 PM IST | Hailing the Court’s decision, Baba Ramdev said that court has set an example that no one can escape law.
04: 45 PM IST | Anshul Chhatrapati, son of slain journalist Ram Chander Chhatrapati who had exposed the dera sect head, expressed satisfaction with the sentencing. Speaking to ANI, Chhatrapati said that earlier people did not believe when they said Ram Rahim Singh was involved in objectionable activities and he was happy that Singh’s guilt was proved by court today.
04: 36 PM IST | QUICK RECAP OF THE DAY
- Rape convict Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh sentenced to 20 years jail.
- The quantum of sentence was announced by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) special court judge Jagdeep Singh.
- Due to earlier incidents of arson and rioting, a special court was set inside District Jail in Sunaria near Rohtak town in Haryana.
- The CBI judge on Friday held the Dera chief guilty of rape and criminal intimidation of the two female disciples in 1999.
- Defence (sect) counsel argued for minimum punishment for the citing the social work done by Ram Rahim
- The prosecution (CBI counsel) sought maximum punishment for the rape convict given his conduct.
- Mostly peaceful so far, there were reports of fresh violence in Sirsa town where Dera supporters allegedly torched two vehicles.
- Haryana on Monday issued shoot-at-sight orders in and around the District Jail at Sunaria.
03: 56 PM IST | Captain Amarinder Singh says, “there is total normalcy, our forces are on their toes. Will not let any untoward incident happen.”
The CM also added that the 10 years of jail sentence given to the Dera chief “must be accepted by the people and peace must prevail.”
03: 50 PM IST | Taking cognizance of the situation, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar calls an emergency meeting of senior state officials, party leaders and ministers at his residence in Chandigarh.
03: 47 PM IST | Defence lawyer’s representing Ram Rahim to move HC to challenge 10 years of sentencing. CBI lawyers say that wanted 14 years of jail for the rape convict.
03: 28 PM IST | Rape convict Ram Rahim Singh sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment. Medical examination of Ram Rahim is being done. Following the protocol, he will be given a jail uniform and will be allotted a cell in Rohtak jail.
03: 22 PM IST | Dera supporters torch 2 vehicles in Phoolka area of Sirsa. Chandigarh: Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh holds security review meeting with DGP, Chief Secy and other senior officials.
03: 02 PM IST | Reportedly, Ram Rahim Singh breaks down in the court while the arguments were made by his lawyers. He also asked for forgiveness.
02: 55 PM IST | The Defence lawyer representing Ram Rahim Singh argues that the Dera chief is a social worker who has worked for the welfare of people. Taking a view of his efforts, Defence says that the judge should take a lenient view before pronouncing his judgement.
02: 41 PM IST | Prosecution demands maximum punishment for rape convict Ram Rahim Singh in the rape case.
02: 35 PM IST | Special CBI judge Jagdeep Singh has allotted 10 minutes each to both sides to put forth their arguments Ram Rahim Singh before he awards his judgement.
02: 30 PM IST | Arguments begin at Rohtak’s Sonaria jail for the quantum of sentence in Ram Rahim Singh rape case.
02: 25 PM IST | Haryana Special CBI judge Jagdeep Singh reaches Rohtak’s Sonaria jail for the quantum of sentence hearing of Ram Rahim Singh. Rahim Singh ‘s lawyer SK Narwana reaches makeshift court in Rohtak Jail ahead of the quantum of sentence hearing.
01: 15 PM IST | Haryana Police patrolling in Rohtak ahead of quantum of sentence hearing of Ram Rahim Singh
12: 30 PM IST | Earlier today, while talking to media, Navdeep Singh Virk, IGP Rohtak Range said that the police has seized some objectionable items that were kept hidden in fields. Interrogation is underway.
“Have recovered around 100 objectionable items including batons from Sonipat’s Bahalgarh Dera,” said Navdeep Singh Virk
He further added, “If any unidentified person tries to go near high-security area at Sunaria jail complex, ‘shoot at sight’ can be implemented.”
12: 18 PM IST | Special CBI judge has left Panchkula. He is expected to reach Rohtak within 40 min. The Court proceedings at Sonaria jail in Rohtak will begin at 2:30 pm.
Meeting on Punjab, Haryana situation at North Block ends. The officials have been directed to continuously monitor the situation.
12: 15 PM IST | Shoot at sight’ order in Rohtak to maintain peace
The authorities have confirmed that ‘shoot at sight’ order will be imposed if any person is found trying to hamper the harmony or attempting to cause any sort of harm to natives or property.
Speaking to ANI, the District Collector (DC) of Rohtak, Atul Kumar said that shoot at sight will be imposed on any miscreants trying to harm innocent natives.
He said, “We have discussed our plan of action in a meeting today, and have clarity on what needs to be done. If any person is seen as a threat to the peace of the region or tries to harm anybody or himself, shoot at sight orders will be passed immediately. We are maintaining strict vigil and will not tolerate carelessness of any kind.”
Taking the cognizance of the orders from the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Kumar said, “We currently have 23 factions of paramilitary forces who have been deployed. The Army has also been alerted to the situation. The minute we get to know anything, they will be summoned in an hour. So far everything is functioning normally. However, we are keeping our patrolling constant throughout the night as well.”
11: 59 AM IST | VERDICT RECAP: Notably, after the news of conviction against Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh trickled down, the supporters turned violent and started rioting in various parts Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan with some minor incidents reported in the national capital as well.
Trial court judge Jagdeep Singh announced the verdict amid unprecedented security. The sect chief was taken into custody following his conviction and was later flown to Rohtak by helicopter to be lodged in a prison.
The towns where curfew has been clamped include Mansa, Bathinda, Patiala, Fazilka, Ferozepore, Faridkot, Malout, Sangrur and Barnala.
Haryana’s Panchkula, adjoining Chandigarh, where a CBI court gave a guilty ruling against the Dera chief, resembled a war zone. Besides Panchkula, curfew was imposed in Sirsa, headquarters of Dera Sacha Sauda where one person died in the violence, and Kaithal towns.
Reports said that over 100 vehicles were set on fire by the rampaging mobs. Government and private buildings were also damaged and some torched. Residents reported seeing plumes of black smoke rising into the sky at several places.
Earlier, in order to prevent any violent outbreak, security was beefed-up in both Haryana and Punjab as violence reached the national capital. The Army was called in the state to deal with situation along with other security forces. Section 144 (curfew) of the CrPC (Criminal Procedure Code) was imposed across Chandigarh, as more than 40,000 of Ram Rahim’s followers have gathered at Naam Charcha Ghar in Panchkula area.
(With Agency inputs)