India guru rape: Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh jailed for 10 years
India guru rape: Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh jailed for 10 years: A controversial Indian godman convicted of rape on Friday has been sentenced to 10 years in prison. Indian media reported that Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh’s followers had set two vehicles on fire just ahead of sentencing.
Violence after Friday’s verdict in Panchkula in northern Haryana state had killed some 38 people.
The self-styled holy man was found guilty of sexually assaulting two female followers.
A curfew has been imposed in several areas of Haryana and Punjab states, while the capital Delhi is on alert.
The army has been put on standby and police say they have been given “shoot on sight” orders in case of trouble.
Singh, 50, was not taken to court to hear his sentence. Instead, the judge who convicted him was flown to Rohtak jail where he is being held.
- Controversial leader of the Dera Sacha Sauda sect, which claims to have 60 million followers around the world
- Took over the sect – which describes itself as “a non-profit social welfare and spiritual organisation” – when he was 23
- Performs at rock concerts, acts in films and even has his own line of food products
- Known as “rockstar baba” and “guru of bling” because of his shiny, colourful clothes
- Has been accused of mocking Sikh and Hindu figures
- Has been investigated for murder and rape, charges he denies
- Has been accused of forcing followers to undergo castration to “get closer to god”
The prison has been transformed into a fortress, with journalists banned within a 1.5km (one mile) radius.
Rohtak town, in Haryana state, is also under police and military lockdown, the roads lined with barbed-wire barricades.
There is also heavy security outside Singh’s 1,000-acre compound in Sirsa, Haryana.
Schools and colleges will remain closed. Mobile internet services were cut in Haryana last Thursday, and the ban has been extended for a further 48 hours.
Tens of thousands of his supporters are still believed to be inside the Dera Sacha Sauda sect headquarters, despite many opting to leave following a tense stand-off with soldiers.
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