After deadly protests, Indian states in lockdown for “godman’s” rape sentencing
India deployed thousands of riot police and shut down internet services in two northern states, as it prepared for the sentencing on Monday (August 28) of a self-styled ‘godman’ whose followers went on a rampage after he was convicted of rape on Friday (August 25).
Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh’s cult Dera Sacha Sauda has a vast rural following in Punjab and Haryana states, where frenzied mobs burned down gas stations and train stations and torched vehicles after a local court found him guilty of raping two women in a 2002 case.
At least 38 people were killed and more than 200 injured in the violence in Haryana, officials said, drawing sharp criticism for the state government run by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Security forces have cordoned off a jail in Rohtak city, 70 km (44 miles) from New Delhi, where Singh – also known as the guru of bling for the clothes he wears in the movies he has starred in – is being held. Singh faces a minimum of seven years in prison.