Congress urges people to maintain peace after Panchkula violence

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Congress urges people to maintain peace after Panchkula violence

The self-styled guru was also under investigation in 2015 for allegedly encouraging 400 followers to undergo castrations at his ashram so they could get closer to God.Religious sects like the Dera Sacha Sauda have huge followings in India.

Khattar's role further attracted criticism after reports emerged that intelligence agencies had provided warnings earlier in the week that the situation could turn ugly today if the court held Ram Rahim guilty of rape, which it did.

The violence has left several others injured.

Haryana's Panchkula, adjoining Chandigarh, where a CBI court gave a guilty ruling against the Dera chief, resembled a war zone.

The first targets were media broadcast vans parked near the court and media personnel, NDTV news channel reported.

The properties of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh will be seized to compensate for the damage to public properties by his followers, ordered the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Friday.

As per reports there has been a total blackout in Haryana since the court's verdict in Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh's conviction.

Restive mobs also resorted to stone-pelting, leading to security forces launching tear gas shells and employing water cannons. An electricity office in Sangrur town was set on fire.

He will receive his sentence on 28th August but has been flown over to a Haryana-based jail by helicopter until that date. Alert sounded in Bhatinda in Punjab too.

But the curfew had little effect on the protesters, who also set fire to Malout and Balluanna railway stations in Punjab, according to the Northern Railways.

The CBI had filed a FIR against Ram Rahim in 2002 and the case came to trial in 2008.

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar attributed the violence to certain "anti-social" elements, without expressly naming Ram Rahim's followers, while Rakesh Sinha refused to comment.

Meanwhile, security has been tightened across Haryana, Punjab, Delhi, bordering areas of Uttar Pradesh in the wake of the violence in Haryana.

Delhi Police chief Amulya Patnaik said "strict legal action will be taken against miscreants for any violation" as adequate police arrangements were in place and law and order situation in the capital was "under control".

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