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Asaram rape case: Recalling chaos in Panchkula after Ram Rahim's verdict

By Vikas
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    With less than an hour left for a Jodhpur Court to pronounce verdict in self-styled godman Asaram Bapu's rape case, we must recall how Panchkula plunged into chaos after a special CBI court convicted self-styled godman Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in a rape case. A CBI special court in Panchkula held Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh guilty of raping his female followers on August 25.

    Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh

    The followers of Ram Rahim, who had gathered in Panchkula in thousands, went on the rampage, hurling stones, vandalising media vehicles and setting a fire several two-wheelers. Although the followers were not allowed to come close to the court, the main mistake of the authorities was to allow them to enter Panchkula and camp in the city when section 144 was in place.

    As the news of Ram Rahim's conviction spread, the followers began spreading across Panchkula started vandalising whatever they could find. The police and other forces were clueless as to how to tackle the situation, they were just outnumbered by the Dera followers. Soon, the chaos spread to other parts of Haryana and rioting began in several parts of the state. It then took police almost three days to bring the situation back to normal.

    The Punjab and Haryana High court then came down heavily on the Haryana government for its apparent inability to maintain law and order in the State ahead of the CBI court verdict and pulled it up for not imposing Section 144 of Cr. PC in time to prevent the huge gathering of Dera followers in Panchkula.

    Security arrangements ahead of Asaram's verdict:

    The Delhi Police said today it is on high alert ahead of a trial court's verdict in Jodhpur tomorrow in the alleged rape of a teenager by self-styled godman Asaram, who faces a minimum 10-year prison term if convicted.

    A senior police official said the department is keeping a close watch on Delhi's boundaries and inside the city areas, where Asaram's supporters might gather after the judgement.

    "We are in touch with police forces from neighbouring states to avert any untoward incident. Senior officers from districts and SHOs of police stations concerned have been directed to keep a watch in their respective areas," he added.

    All arrangements have been made to ensure maximum security, said DIG Jail Vikram Singh. Six companies of the armed battalions of Rajasthan Police have been deployed around the Jodhpur Central Jail. Police are also converting two stadiums in Jodhpur city into makeshift jails in case there is a need of making mass arrests after the verdict.

    [Asaram Bapu appeals followers to maintain peace ahead of tomorrow's verdict]

    According to Rajasthan High Court's directions, the trial court will deliver its verdict inside Jodhpur Central Jail, where Asaram has been lodged for more than four years. The godman is accused of raping a teenage girl from Shahajahanpur in Uttar Pradesh, who studied at his "ashram" in Chhindwara in Madhya Pradesh.

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