You Have Endangered A Town, Say Furious Judges Ahead Of Ram Rahim Verdict

The High Court warned it does not want "a situation similar to the Jat reservation stir", referring to riots early last year that saw Jats, a dominant caste, clashing over days with the police as they demanded affirmative action policies.

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Over one lakh followers of Ram Rahim have already settled into Panchkula


Panchkula: 

Highlights

  1. Guru to lakhs accused of rape, verdict tomorrow in Panchkula
  2. Haryana town filled with his supporters, fears of violence
  3. High Court says government's claims of precautions are exposed
As the roads of Panchkula filled with supporters of spiritual guru Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, the police's claim of special arrangements to safekeep the small town that lies 10 km from Chandigarh was ripped apart by judges who said the administration has "already failed" in maintaining law and order. The judges also ordered Ram Rahim's sect to appeal to its followers to return home and said the appeal must be publicized.

At 2.30 pm, the local court will decide if the self-styled guru is guilty of raping two women followers 15 years ago. Through the week, the governments of Haryana and neighbouring Punjab have appealed to his sect - the Dera Sacha Sauda - to keep calm; every day, new measures have been introduced to prevent outsized congregations from erupting in violence.

Too late, said the Punjab and Haryana High Court, after it was informed through a Public Interest Litigation or PIL that over one lakh followers of Ram Rahim have already settled into Panchkula, many of them keen to see their guru, others bent on showing solidarity with him. Nearly 20 trains were cancelled today, bus services that pass through Panchkula were rolled back, and barricades set up to monitor the influx of arrivals.
 
gurmeet ram rahim singh

Ram Rahim has said that he will be present in court tomorrow

To little effect - on a major highway that leads into the town and on the banks of the River Ghaggar that runs through it, Ram Rahim followers were comfortably placed, some within a stone's throw of the courthouse. 

The High Court warned it does not want "a situation similar to the Jat reservation stir", referring to riots early last year that saw Jats, a dominant caste, clashing over days with the police as they demanded affirmative action policies. Nearly 20 people were killed and at least 170 injured; highways were blocked, shops were set on fire, and offices vandalized including in Gurugram, the satellite city near Delhi that hosts fancy offices for multinational firms. The violence lasted a week.

Ram Rahim has said on Twitter that he will be present in court, a reveal that's likely to prevent his fans from dispersing. He also asked his sect to keep peaceful and reminded it that he has "always obeyed the law."

The case of sexual exploitation dates to 2002 when two women followers were allegedly sexually exploited by him at his sprawling campus in Sirsa in Haryana. He has denied any wrongdoing.

The centre has offered assistance and paramilitary troops to the Haryana government.

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