Sirsa: Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh this morning left Sirsa to appear before a special CBI court at Panchkula in the sexual exploitation case against him. The 50-year-old Dera head left the sect-headquarters at Sirsa, about 260 km from Chandigarh, at about 9:am amid tight security. The Dera chief, who enjoys 'Z' category security, is also being accompanied a number of his own security guards in a cavalcade. It will take him around three hours to reach the court, a police official said. A special CBI court at Panchkula is set to deliver its verdict today in a 2002 sexual exploitation case against the Dera head.
1) The court is expected to pronounce verdict at around 2:30 pm.
2) Thousands of 'premis', what Dera followers are popularly known, have descended in Panchkula, which has virtually turned into a fortress.
3) The sexual exploitation case was registered against the Dera chief in 2002 by the CBI on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court after anonymous letters were circulated about the alleged sexual exploitation of two 'sadhvis' (female followers) by Ram Rahim Singh.
4) Shops, ATMs, cinema halls, petrol pumps, located near Dera headquarters in Sirsa were closed today, hours before a court verdict in a rape case against the sect head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.
5) Security personnel are keeping a strict vigil by erecting barricades on several places and are not allowing any vehicular movement towards the sect headquarters at Sirsa in Haryana.
6) A large number of Dera Sacha Sauda followers continued to stay put in Panchkula today giving a tough time to authorities. They ignored appeals from the administration and their sect head.
7) Haryana Police assisted by central forces launched a night-long operation to flush out scores of Dera followers gathered over the past four days in Panchkula, but the followers have largely refused to budge.
8) Haryana, Punjab and Union Territory Chandigarh went into lockdown since yesterday, shutting mobile Internet services, trains, schools, colleges and buses.
9) Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and his Punjab counterpart Capt Amarinder Singh will be taking stock of security situation in their respective states.
10) An estimated over one lakh Dera followers including men, women and children have gathered in Panchkula. UT Chandigah police has warned of taking stern action against Dera followers if they make an attempt to enter Chandigarh.
News24 Bureau/with inputs from PTI