Friday, 19 January 2018

World News

12 Die In India As Followers Protest Rape Conviction Of Religious Leader

At least 12 people have been killed in north India as followers of a popular religious leader, Gurmeet Ram Rahim, protest his rape conviction .

The victims are believed to be Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh's followers. Angry supporters are rampaging through Panchkula town, near Chandigarh.

 At least two railway stations have been set on fire in widespread vandalism, as followers smashed cars and set media vans on fire.

The police have arrested over 2,000 of Singh’s followers.

Singh, who claims to have millions of disciples, was found guilty of raping two women at the headquarters of his sect, known as Dera Sacha Sauda, in 2002.

More than 200,000 of his followers had flocked to the Chandigarh area ahead of Friday's verdict.

Thousands of army, police and paramilitary forces have been deployed. They fired tear-gas canisters and water cannon into the crowd to try to restore control, says the BBC's Ravinder Singh Robin in Panchkula.

However, the region's police chief BS Sandhu said the violence was under control.

Singh, 50, was taken into protective custody by the army following the conviction.

The court is expected to sentence him on Monday. Curfews have been imposed in several areas of Chandigarh city and across the state of Punjab.