Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was on Friday held guilty of raping and sexually exploiting two female disciples by the Special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court.
Trial court judge Jagdeep Singh will pronounce the quantum of sentence on August 28.
After the court verdict, Ram Rahim Singh was taken into custody by Haryana Police. The Dera chief will be taken to Rohtak Jail.
The verdict was pronounced amid unprecedented security cover, over 15 years after an anonymous sexual exploitation complaint was registered against him.
The sect chief was present in the court when the judgment was given in Panchkula town, adjoining Chandigarh.
The punishment can be a jail term not less than seven years but may even extend to life imprisonment.
Unhappy with the court verdict, followers of Dera Sacha Sauda chief resorted to violence and attacked media vehicles and journalists.
The followers pelted stones and broke barricades following which police lobbed tear gas shells and fired in the air.
Army personnel and central paramilitary forces took positions around the CBI court complex in Panchkula, even as the area close to the complex was sealed.
The case against Ram Rahim was registered 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 Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.
The alleged rape and sexual exploitation of the female follower was first reported through an anonymous letter in 2002 to the then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court here.
With tension mounting in Haryana’s Panchkula, Army has been deployed to deal with any situation along with other security forces. Curfew-like restrictions have been imposed in various areas in Punjab and Haryana, with educational institutions shut for two days (Thursday and Friday), trains cancelled and bus services disrupted.