Security has been tightened in Panchkula town in Haryana ahead of a crucial hearing in two separate murder cases against Dera Sacha Sauda sect chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh and others here on Saturday. The cases, related to the murder of Sirsa-based journalist Ram Chander Chhatrapati and former Dera manager Ranjit Singh, allegedly by functionaries and followers of the sect will be held in the court of special CBI judge Jagdeep Singh. The same court had, on August 25, convicted Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh on two counts of rape of female disciples. Haryana Director General of Police B.S. Sandhu said on Friday that adequate para military and Haryana Police personnel had been stationed around the court complex in Sector 1 here and other areas in Panchkula town to maintain law and order. There are no reports of the Dera followers assembling in Panchkula ahead of Saturday’s hearing, unlike the rape case hearing where over one lakh followers had converged in the town.
Police officials here said that rapist Ram Rahim will not be physically produced in the CBI special court on Saturday. The hearing will take place through video conferencing as Ram Rahim is lodged in the District Jail in Sunaria near Rohtak. Chhatrapati and Ranjit Singh were murdered in 2002. The sect chief is an accused in both murder cases as these were carried out allegedly at his behest.
Ram Rahim was sentenced to 20 years of rigorous imprisonment by the CBI court on August 28. His conviction led to violence in Panchkula and Sirsa in Haryana, leaving 38 people dead and 264 injured. Isolated incidents of violence were also reported from Delhi and several other places in Punjab.