17 Killed As Indian Guru Convicted Of Rape, ‘Dera Sacha Sauda’ Chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh’s Followers Riot

“Dera Sacha Sauda” Chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh has been convicted of rape. The Indian spiritual guru, who has also starred in a couple of Bollywood movies as the protagonist, is found guilty of raping two women. According to the latest report, 17 people have been killed so far amid violent clashes in Panchkula, Haryana.

The rape case against the spiritual leader goes way back in 2002, when an anonymous letter to then-PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee apparently revealed the sexual abuse suffered by the women workers at the organization. Since then, there have been more than 200 court hearings for the allegations against Ram Rahim.

Eventually, a CBI special trial court found him guilty of rape. While the sentence is due on August 28, Ram Rahim Singh may have to spend seven years in jail.

It was expected that his followers were going to react violently, if the verdict went against the spiritual guru. Thousands of army, police and paramilitary forces were deployed to take control of the situation.

As violent protests erupted at various locations, security forces shot dead five angry demonstrators, the BBCreported. Singh’s followers have reportedly damaged cars and set media vans on fire. ANI has reported that the death toll has reached 17.

The Indian Express, however, is yet to confirm the number. The Indian news outlet has claimed that security arrangements were not adequate. Otherwise, so many people would not have died.

Reports also suggest that the number of people injured in the clashes has reached 200. The Independent reported that Singh’s followers rampaged petrol stations and railway stations as well.

“Dera Sacha Sauda” happens to be an Indian spiritual group that has a huge number of followers.

Ram Rahim, aka Saint Dr. Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Ji Insan, is followed by 3.74 million people on Twitter. Sings said in his tweet on August 24 that he was not keeping well.

However, he promised to go to court to be present for the verdict. He claimed that he had always honored the legal system of the country. He also asked his followers to maintain peace.

Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh is among the 36 VVIP in India, who enjoys a Z level security. According to the Business Standard, Singh is a hugely influential person who has strong dominance over politicians in the Indian states of Haryana, Rajasthan and Punjab.

[Featured Image by Tsering Topgyal/AP Images]