A trail of death and destruction descended on Panchkula, otherwise a peaceful city of Haryana, as soon as the self-styled godman Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was convicted by a special CBI court here in a rape case. Punjab and Haryana High court has ordered seizure of Ram Rahim’s properties to compensate the loss incurred by the violence triggered by his followers post court’s verdict.As violence by the followers of Gurmeet Ram Rahim spiraled out of control this evening from its hub in Haryana’s Panchkula, reaching Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and the borders of Delhi, the Punjab and Haryana High Court ordered strict penalty for Dera Sacha Sauda. The entire property of the group — led by its self-styled spiritual leader Ram Rahim — should be attached for the damage to public property in Punjab and Haryana, the court said, ordering the police to file cases in this regard.Followers of Ram Rahim, who had gathered here in thousands over the past four days, went on a rampage, hurling stones, vandalising media vehicles and setting a fire several vehicles, many among them two wheelers. Many women among the followers who had gathered here gave a tough time to the police and paramilitary personnel. Immediately after the CBI court here convicted the Dera Sacha Sauda chief, many of his followers broke police barricades and security cordons.At least three OB vans of private television channels were damaged. Two vans were overturned by a mob. 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. Punjab and Haryana High court had come 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 CrPC correctly to prevent the huge gathering of Dera followers in Panchkula.The bench had asserted that the court did not want a repeat of situation similar to the one witnessed in February last year when violence during Jat reservation stir in Haryana claimed 30 lives and property worth hundreds of crores of rupees was damaged by arsonists.
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