Dera supporters turn violent in Punjab and Haryana; 31 dead

RSTV Bureau
Panchkula: OB vans of television media burn after arson following Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim’s conviction in Panchkula on Friday. PTI Photo / TV GRAB

Panchkula: OB vans of television media burn after arson following Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim’s conviction in Panchkula on Friday. PTI Photo / TV GRAB

Thirty one people have been killed and more than 250 people have been injured in the violence that erupted in Panchkula after Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim was convicted for rape charges by a CBI court on Friday afternoon.

Ram Rahim supporters set afire Malout and Balluanna railway stations in Punjab. The supporters also clashed with the security in several places across Punjab and Haryana as soon as their chief was convicted.

Panchkula: Vehicles burn during arson following Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim’s conviction in Panchkula on Friday. PTI Photo / TV GRAB

Panchkula: Vehicles burn during arson following Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim’s conviction in Panchkula on Friday. PTI Photo / TV GRAB

Thousands of his followers went on a rampage, hurling stones and vandalising media vehicles. Buses and petrol pumps have also been reported to have been torched.

Forces resorted to water canon and tear gas shelling in many places. Additional Armymen were called in to bring the situation under control.Curfew was clamped in Sirsa, Mansa and Panchula.

Immediately after a court convicted the Dera Sacha Sauda chief, many of his followers, including a large number of women, broke police barricades and security cordons.

Sirsa: Followers of Ram Rahim pelting stones as security personnel in violence following court verdict in the rape trial of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim, in Sirsa on Friday. PTI Photo

Sirsa: Followers of Ram Rahim pelting stones as security personnel in violence following court verdict in the rape trial of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim, in Sirsa on Friday. PTI Photo

Thousands of Dera followers had converged in Panchula on Friday ahead of the verdict.

CBI judge Jagdeep Singh, while holding the 50-year-old Dera chief guilty of rape, said the quantum of sentence would be pronounced on August 28, CBI counsel HPS Verma told reporters outside the court.

The punishment can be a jail term of not less than seven years but may even extend to life imprisonment.