Ram Rahim verdict: Congress president Sonia Gandhi calls for peace, condemns violence

The court will pronounce the quantum of punishment on August 28.

Tens of thousands of Singh's supporters have gathered outside the courthouse in the town of Panchkula, Haryana, since Thursday.

However, he has been constantly denying the charges, claiming that he is a faithful follower of the law.

"Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrashi has confirmed that 13 people have died as a result of violence in Panchkula and nearby areas, adding that the center was continuously monitoring the situation". Opposition is attacking BJP government and Haryana Police in failing to follow proper intelligence reports and making responsible for deaths and burnings. The self-styled godman was found guilty today in a fifteen-year-old rape case against him.

The Haryana police have taken the Dera chief into custody.

Supporters rampaged in response, attacking railway stations, petrol stations and television vans in towns across Punjab and Haryana, witnesses said.

Emergency meeting of Haryana cabinet is being held in wake of violence in several parts of the state. He had also said that the prohibitory orders does not apply to "devotion of the Dera followers". Cities of Barnala, Malota, Sirsa and other cities.

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The Dera management, in a statement, said that the sect and its chief have been "wronged" and would go in appeal in a higher court.

The violence of Ram Rahim's followers forced the security officials to airlift him, possibly the first time in Indian history an accused had been airlifted, out of Panchkula to Rohtak.

Thousands of army, police and paramilitary forces have been deployed.

The High Court on Thursday asked the Centre to provide additional forces ahead of the judgment. Since then, there have been more than 200 court hearings for the allegations against Ram Rahim.

The uncontrolled violent mob set scores of the vehicle on fire, pelted stones at the police. The letter, which appeared to have been written by a woman follower of Baba Ram Rahim, narrated how the Dera chief sexually exploited his women followers at the sprawling Sirsa ashram. Singh was shot dead two months after the letter was made public in 2002.

A journalist Ram Chander Chhatrapati had exposed the rapes of two women at Dera headquarters in Sirsa 15 years ago.


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