Rape convict and self-styled Godman Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was awarded a 10-year jail term by a CBI court in Panchkula district of Haryana on Monday.
An hour before Singh was sentenced in Rohtak, mobile internet was cut off, roads barricaded and armed soldiers manned checkpoints. 37 companies of SSB kept ready for backup in Sirsa.
The judge who pronounced the sentence was flown in a helicopter to the jail premises where Singh was kept after the conviction on Friday.
According to the reports, Singh, who claims to have more than 50 million followers worldwide, requested the court to take a lenient view.
The Defense argued that Singh is a social worker who has worked for welfare of people, so requested the judge to take a lenient view in sentencing.
Dismissing the defense lawyer’s arguments, CBI judge Jagdeep Singh awarded 10 years of rigorous imprisonment to Ram Rahim Singh. According to some reports, the rape victims might move the Punjab and Haryana High Court and seek life sentence for Ram Rahim Singh.
Utsav Singh Bains, lawyer for the victims, said he would seek a longer sentence and asked India’s federal investigations bureau to investigate dozens more alleged cases of abuse.
The dera chief reportedly cried and begged for forgiveness inside the court after the judgment was pronounced and had to be dragged out of it by the authorities who even reprimanded his behaviour.
Earlier, the Special CBI judge Jagdeep Singh had allotted 10 minutes each to both sides to put forth their arguments. The prosecution, reportedly, had demanded the maximum punishment for the rape convict.
According to the reports, just minutes before the pronouncement of the sentence, two cars were reportedly torched by the Dera Sacha Sauda supporters in the Phoolka area of Haryana’s Sirsa.
However, most part parts of the Haryana were peaceful amid an uneasy calm.
Earlier, Dera chairperson has requested the followers to peacefully abide by the judgment today.
Meanwhile, after the judgment was pronounced Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar convened an emergency meeting at his Chandigarh residence. He met senior bureaucrats, police officials and BJP leaders.
Meanwhile, Indian National Congress (INC) has welcomed the judgment and said that no one is above the Constitution.
“The judiciary has proven that no one is above the Constitution and rule of law,” INC tweeted.