News has it that a popular controversial Indian guru, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, a self-styled holy man with over 60 million followers around the world was found guilty of sexually assaulting two female followers and has been jailed for 10 years each for the two assault, to run consecutively, making it 20 years that he would be spending in jail.
Indian media report that violence broke out in Panchkula following the verdict ahead of his sentencing which leave over 38 people lifeless.
There were initial reports of a 10-year sentence but his lawyers confirmed the sentencing was of consecutive, not concurrent, terms while prosecutors had called for a life sentence.
A lawyer for the victims said 50 women had come forward with allegations of rape and they would be seeking further investigation in the case.
“We believe there are at least 48 more victims who were sexually abused and who may have been killed or are too scared to come out and testify against Ram Rahim,” lawyer Utsav Singh Bains said.Singh said to have deny all charges against him including a murder in two cases that is schedule to be heard in court next month.
Following the sentencing, the chief minister of Haryana state called an emergency meeting declaring curfew 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 the prison in the town of Rohtak where Singh is being held.
Rohtak, 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.
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.