Indian spiritual guru Ram Rahim sentenced to 20 years in jail

Aug 26 09:35 AM

Security was beefed up in and around the city in the run-up to the sentencing of the 50-year-old self-styled "godman". He was consequently awarded 20 years imprisonment on August 28, 2017. "I have the judgement which details the sentence", said Abhishek Dayal, spokesman for the CBI, which prosecuted the case.

The rape conviction of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh on Friday sparked deadly riots, which killed at least 38 and injured more than 200 in the northern state of Haryana.

Singh's lawyers have said they will appeal against his conviction. M Narayanan, a senior CBI official who handled the investigation but is now retired, said "The punishment is not sufficient".

As the news of Ram Rahim Singh's conviction broke, his supporters went on a rampage in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh.

Following this, arrangements were made for the sitting of a CBI Court in the Sunaria District Jail, where the rape convict is now stationed, for the pronouncement of quantum of the sentence.

Meanwhile, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has conducted a high-level meeting for further actions. Mobile internet services have also been suspended.

"The state government has sealed over 30 congregation centers of the Dera Sacha Sauda across the state", he said.

"If the situation so arises that (we) need to use firearms, my officers have complete authority", the police chief told broadcaster NDTV.

However, the controversial rapist guru has started crying, while the judge was pronouncing the sentence.

The letter writer alleged that she was raped repeatedly over three years, that she was not the only one being exploited, and that if "the press or some government agency" investigated her allegations, "40 to 50 girls living in the Dera Sacha Sauda campus would come forward to reveal the truth".

He has previously been questioned over the murder of an investigative journalist in 2002. He denied the charge and the case is ongoing.

The guru was not sentenced in a court.

Singh said, "Subsequent to dispersal of crowd from Panchkula, Haryana, on August 25, the Mohali district administration ensured safe arrival of Dera people from Punjab to reach their homes without creating any problem on the roads".

Over the weekend, thousands of followers congregated in the spiritual headquarters of his sect at Sirsa, despite calls from police and troops for them to disperse. He urged the followers not to take the law into their hands.

India has been rocked by numerous scandals involving popular ascetics claiming to possess mystical powers, and Singh is no stranger to controversy.

Singh's sect describes itself as a social welfare and spiritual organisation but he is no stranger to controversy.

In 2015 he was accused of encouraging 400 followers to undergo castration at his ashram so they could get closer to god.

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