Gurmeet Ram Rahim Case.  Dera Chief Gets 10-year Jail for Rape

A special CBI court has begun proceedings on the quantum of punishment against Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in a rape case. The judge has allowed each side 10 minutes to present their case. The CBI sought life term for Ram Rahim, while the defence asked for a lighter sentence. 

Ram Rahim Gets 10 Years##

CBI court sentences Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh to 10 years in jail for rape.

Dera Sacha Sauda chairperson and Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh’s daughter Vipassana Insan appeals supporters to maintain peace.

Journalists told to be on standby as a copy of the judgment is being brought for the announcement, outside the court. Extra forces deployed outside the court.

Dera supporters torch vehicle in Sirsa, more forces being sent to the spot. Final sentence in the case is still awaited.

Both sides ordered to come out of the courtroom, as the judgment on Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh’s rape case is being read out.

CBI Judge Jagdeep Singh calls for total silence, begins reading out the verdict in Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh’s rape case.

Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in tears, pleads the judge with folded hands for leniency. 

Anxious silence inside courtroom as CBI court judge Jagdeep Singh begins to pin down the quantum of sentencing order in Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh’s rape case.

After hearing both sides, the judge orders closing of the arguments in Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh conviction hearing. All sides await final sentencing.

“There are 45 other victims, who have not been able to come forward. The victims were raped for three years,” said CBI lawyer in concluding argument.

A BSF battalion has been ordered to enter Rohtak jail premises, as the defence counsel has made a request to change the prison of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.

Both sides asked to conclude their arguments, sentencing within minutes in Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh’s rape case.

The defence argued that Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh is a social worker, who has worked for welfare of not only the community but also women, by getting women from financially weak families married without dowry.

9 people, including rape convict Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, are present in the courtroom. Meanwhile, the prosecution, which has begun to present its argument, has demanded maximum punishment. 

10 Minutes to Present Case##

CBI court judge Jagdeep Singh allows only 10 minutes to each side, to present their arguments, which means the sentencing could be announced sooner-than-expected.

Sources indicate that in their arguments, the CBI will cite aggravating factors, deposition by victims, to seek maximum punishment. According to legal experts, life term in such a case would mean jail until the end of natural life and only state government could decide, at the end of a 14-year term, to give any kind of relief.

Defence begins to present its arguments in Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh’s sentence, citing his age, health and social work as mitigating factors, seeking minimum sentence. 

Hearing Begins##

​CBI court judge Jagdeep Singh enters Rohtak Jail library, which has been turned into a makeshift court, for the hearing of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh’s sentence in a 15-year-old rape case. Counsels from both sides already present. Hearing begins.

Sirsa in Total Blackout##

At Dera Sacha Sauda headquarters in Sirsa, power and broadband internet services have been snapped ahead of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh’s sentencing. Mobile internet was already suspended in curfewed town.

Justice Jagdeep Singh and his team’s chopper lands in Rohtak, ahead of the hearing for the rape convict Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh’s sentence hearing. The trio are headed towards the court and proceedings likely to begin soon.

“We will appeal to the court to consider his age. We will also appeal for minimum punishment. There are many grounds to be put forward. Let’s hope for the best,” says Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh’s lawyer, SK Garg Narwana.

Chief Medical Officer of Rohtak, Dr Deepa is performing routine health check-up on Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. He had earlier complained of back pain and diabetic issues. 

Prakash Budhwar village head of Sonaria gaon, near the jail, where Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh is currently lodged in says, “Our village will stand like a wall; if Dera supporters come near the jail. Even if the administration fails, we will not let Dera supporters come near our village. We don’t know who this Baba is.”

Sources say that the defence counsel, alongwith 3 judicial counsels, has entered the Rohtak prison, ahead of the hearing for the quantum of the sentence of rape convict Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.

Fearing violence after Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh’s sentencing in a rape case today, a village close to the Dera Sacha Sauda headquarters readied itself to face angry followers with a stockpile of stones, sticks, bricks and iron rods. Villagers in Shahpur Beghu, 500 metres from the sprawling headquarters of the Dera, said they were fully prepared to face violent followers of the self-styled godman who was convicted of rape on August 25

A ‘youth brigade’ was formed several days ahead of the verdict in the rape case against the Dera Sacha Sauda chief to “trigger violence” in Punjab if the judgment goes against Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, a senior Punjab Police official said today. The plan to “indulge in arson and rioting” in Punjab was found during an investigation conducted by the Punjab Police. Following the conviction of Ram Rahim, there were 28 incidents of arson, besides damage to state, central government offices or properties in seven districts of the Malwa region in Punjab. “Almost 15 days ahead of the court verdict, a youth brigade which was to be called ‘A team’ was formed to trigger violence in Punjab if the court judgment goes against Dera Sacha Sauda chief. It was decided in a meeting,” Sangrur SSP Mandeep Singh Sidhu told PTI today.

Among the vehicles in Rahim’s motorcade was a fire engine that police suspects contained a chemical substance and could have been used as a deadly weapon to spread violence. ‘Dera Sacha Sauda’ was found written on the fire engine. The police have kept the impounded vehicle. A local police investigative team is also trying to find how a fire engine, loaded with petrol, became part of Rahim’s motorcade. The vehicles and fire engine have been kept at Mansa Devi Complex (MDC) police station, Panchkula. Police have also made some very dangerous and intriguing recoveries from the cars impounded from the godman’s cavalcade. Among the recoveries include weapons – pistols, country-made pistols, other sophisticated weapons, iron rods, sticks, wireless sets – and intriguingly – women’s under wear.

Ram Rahim’s Cavalcade Cut Down##

When Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh entered the CBI court at Panchkula 302 vehicles followed him into the court. That’s over 15 times the size of Indian President’s cavalcade. And now, thanks to the police department, the rapist godman’s cavalcade is being cut down to size. According to sources, of the 302 cars that accompanied Ram Rahim, 29 vehicles, most of them luxury SUVs, have been impounded by Haryana police and 20 followers of the godman have been arrested. “These vehicles entered through Saketri village on the evening of August 25. The local residents, including RWA president Davinder Mahajan, alerted the police, which led to the recovery of these vehicles,” Panchkula police commissioner AS Chawla told News 18.

Sources say that the CBI counsel has reached Rohtak prison ahead of the hearing for quantum of sentence of rape convict Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim.

Civil surgeon Dr Deepa has gone into Rohtak jail premises followed by an ambulance. Sources have indicated that rape convict Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim is diabetic and has complained of “uneasiness”.

“No gathering has been reported and no Dera Sacha Sauda follower has entered Rohtak. There are large-scale arrangements but there are no directions to close nearby markets. We are ready for all post-sentencing situations,” says Law and Order ADG, Muhammad Akil.

The chopper carrying Special CBI Court Judge Jagdeep Singh, his reader, and writer is about to land at the makeshift helipad inside Rohtak Jail. Proceedings for the sentencing of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim to begin at 2:30 pm.

The second Dera Sacha Sauda supporter can be heard administering the first to ask all the parents to “tell their kids that they had also joined this large congregation of their own accord”. The arrangements for a langar (community eating) were also made, and the supporter guided his associate to “hide things and don’t show it to anyone” and “use it when needed”.

A day after violence ripped through Panchkula and Sirsa, killing 36 people, CNN-News18 accessed audio tapes of two Dera Sacha Sauda supporters, suggesting they were well-prepared to create panic and chaos, anticipating the CBI verdict against the self-styled godman, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. One of the Dera supporters asked another not to take the name of Baba (Gurmeet Ram Rahim) while he listed out an array of things to do, including the attack. “Should we attack or not?” asked the second supporter, to which the first one responded positively, but with a caveat. “You have to attack, but if a reporter asks, you have to say that you have come here of your own volition.”

Haryana AG’s Report on Losses##

Haryana Attorney-General Baldev Raj Mahajan will today give a detailed report to the Punjab and Haryana High Court on the losses incurred in the districts following supporters of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh ransacking parts of the state after the sect’s head was convicted of raping a minor. This comes as the HC had ordered the government to seize properties of the Dera in order to compensate for the losses incurred.

The Home Ministry is holding a high-level meeting to discuss the law and order situation in Haryana and Punjab. NSA chief Ajit Doval, IB Chief, and Home Secretary are present in the meeting. Meanwhile, a curfew will be imposed in Punjab’s Malota town from 1 pm to 7 pm today and prohibitory orders will be issued in Faridakot.

They came in trains and buses from Rajasthan, Punjab, even Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra. Now, 25,000 to 30,000 followers of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh are camped inside headquarters of the Dera Sacha Sauda, telling the state they have no way to go home. As Haryana steels itself for the quantum of sentence for the Dera chief, 200 buses of the state run Haryana Roadways sit ready at the Dera Sacha Sauda headquarters in Sirsa.  The state buses were brought in at 8:45 PM on Sunday to move the followers out from there in the run up to the sentence. Many of them have told the local administration they could not leave as they did not know how to, with 74 trains cancelled and hundreds of buses off the roads. The 1000-acre campus, currently a fortress, has about 25,000 to 30,000 Dera followers, a senior official confirmed to News18. Though this is a drop from the initial 1.5 lakh people gathered in Sirsa, the state buses have only managed to evacuate about 8000 people.

Ahead of the sentencing of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim, security arrangements have been made outside Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar’s residence in Chandigarh to avoid any untoward incident. Meanwhile, dozens of children have been released from Dera Sacha Sauda headquarters in Sirsa. Primary treatment has been provided to the kids with the help of Child Protection team. The children have been shifted to an unknown location.
11:03 (IST)

In a separate development, the Supreme Court has questioned the Gujarat government over the slow rape trial against Asaram Bapu. “Why this delay in the trial? Why haven’t you examined the victim yet? File an affidavit telling us the progress so far,” the SC said. Asaram is accused of rape charges and the trial is pending in Gandhinagar court.

Visuals of a flag march being conducted by the police and Rapid Action Force in Barnala ahead of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh’s sentencing.

The Library inside Rohtak Jail has been converted into a courtroom. A chopper carrying CBI court judge Jagdeep Singh, his reader, and writer will land at a helipad inside Rohtak Court at 2 pm. Arguments on the quantum of sentencing will likely last 60-90 minutes. A minimum of 10 years jail sentence is likely for Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh as the rape victim was a minor at the time of the incident. The Dera Sacha Sauda chief’s lawyer will plead for lower sentence on account of his work for the community, including cleanliness and getting young girls married without a dowry. The CBI counsel, on the other hand, will seek strictest and exemplary punishment. The order is likely to be announced between 3:30 pm and 4 pm.

Rohtak IG, Navdeep Singh told CNN-News18 that after intelligence inputs, several weapons, axes and about a 100 sticks have been found on the outskirts of Bahadurgarh in Sonipat and hidden inside a Dera Sacha Sauda ashram. Several people were taken into custody and are being interrogated currently, with search operation still on. “We are carrying out preventive actions across the state. Everything is in order,” said Singh. Meanwhile, a high-level security meet is taking place in North Block before judgment on Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh’s sentence.

The exodus of Dera Sacha Sauda followers from the sect’s headquarters in Sirsa, began on Saturday and continued till Sunday, with the district administration providing buses to facilitate their departure. A day before the sentencing of Dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in a rape case, the Haryana Roadways deployed over 50 buses for transporting the followers. Women and children, who were also inside the sect’s headquarters, are leaving for their homes. District authorities are hopeful that no untoward incident would take place after pronouncement of the quantum of punishment since the followers are vacating the premises.

“Multi-layer security arrangements are in place. We have made special arrangments for the media as well. The shoot at sight orders means that if people do not respond to the warning, then we’ll take strict action. All sensitive areas are under the shoot on sight order. 23 paramilitary forces are in action and if people need to be shot down — they will be,” said Rohtak IG Navdeep Singh to CNN-News18.

The Delhi Police today dismissed rumours, reports of schools in the national capital being shut in view of the sentencing of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. Social media was abuzz with rumours that the police has instructed schools to remain closed as it anticipates violence. However, Madhur Verma, the Delhi Police’s Public Relations Officer, refuted such reports. “Schools will remain open. There are no instructions from Delhi Police to close them. Social media rumors should not be believed (sic),” Verma posted on Twitter

Dera’s Parallel Currency##

In the town of Sirsa, home to the sprawling headquarters of the Dera Sacha Sauda, shops owned by followers of the sect’s flamboyant head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh run a separate monetary system to tender change to customers. Located in and around Dera premises, these shops have the word ‘Sach’ (truth) prefixed to their respective names and give out plastic ‘coins’ or tokens of Rs 10 and Rs 5 to customers if they are unable to tender change in Indian currency. These coins, engraved with the words ‘Dhan Dhan Satguru Tera hi Asara, Dera Sacha Sauda Sirsa’, can then be used by the customer to buy items at the ‘Sach’ shops later. In case a shopkeeper does not have any change at his disposal if a customer pays Rs 100 for an item that costs Rs 70, the latter may have to make do with three plastic tokens of Rs 10 value each.

Yesterday, a lady supporter of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was arrested near the Rohtak jail and asked to meet the self-styled godman. Despite the police trying to convince her that she couldn’t, the supporter refused to leave. The police then had to arrest the lady, as they saw no other option.

RECAP | The seven security personnel of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh had allegedly got into a scuffle with the Haryana police when the Dera chief was being taken to the Western Command, from where he was to be taken to the Rohtak jail in a chopper. However, the securitymen of the Dera chief were overpowered by the policemen. They were produced before the court on Saturday which sent them to a seven-day police remand. The Haryana police personnel, who were arrested, were in the ranks of sub-inspector, assistant sub-inspector, head constable and constable.

RECAP | Sedition and attempt to murder charges were slapped against seven persons, including five Haryana Police personnel, who were part of the Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh’s security paraphernalia when he had arrived at Panchkula to appear in a CBI court on August 25. The seven security personnel of the Dera chief had allegedly tried to free him when the self-styled godman was brought outside the Panchkula Court complex on Friday, after the special CBI court convicted him in a 15-year-old rape case.

With heavy deployment of Haryana police at every nook and corner, media vehicles have been diverted from the route to New District Jail in Rohtak, where where Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh is currently lodged in. Security forces have set up barricades just over a kilometre away from the prison here. One of the police officials told News18 that the prison was at a distance of 1200 metres from the barricade where all the vehicles have been stopped. Usually it takes about two and a half hours to reach Sunaria from Delhi, but with police patrolling every junction after Mundka, one gets easy access to the jail road only if travelling with proper documents. 

Outside the Rohtak Jail, where Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh is currently lodged in, the roads leading to it are enveloped in a security blanket. There are two roads which lead to the New District Jail, which now houses Ram Rahim. One from the side of Baba Mahantsangh College and the other from Sunariya village.  If one comes to the city from Delhi, they would encounter the sole sugarcane juice vendor on the highway. Satish has been working here for two years and is from Jind. When asked where Sunaria jail is, he says with an unfazed expression, “Wohi na jahan Babaji ko raka hai? Seedhey mud jao, par koi jaa nahi payega (that place where the godman has been kept? Go straight and take a turn, but they won’t allow anyone to enter).”



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