Rape convict Ram Rahim taken to jail in a chopper

Panchkula (Haryana): Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, convicted of rape and sexual exploitation, was shifted to a prison in Haryana's Rohtak town, police sources said here on Friday. The controversial Dera chief, who was taken into custody immediately after a CBI court here held him guilty amidst unprecedented security, was whisked away under Army security cover to the nearby Chandimandir military station, the headquarters of the Western Command. The sect chief was later flown in a helicopter to Rohtak town, 70 km from Delhi, where he will be lodged in the prison there. The CBI special court, which convicted him on Friday of the rape and sexual exploitation of two female followers in 2002, will pronounce the sentence on Monday. At least 12 people were killed in firing by security forces as enraged supporters of the Dera chief resorted to large-scale violence following his conviction. Over 200 people were injured in the violence. Over 100 vehicles were set on fire by the rampaging mobs, and several government and private buildings were also damaged and some were set on fire. Dera followers, in thousands, had gathered in Panchkula from various areas of Punjab and Haryana ahead of the court verdict. Panchkula town, adjoining Chandigarh, was virtually under siege by violent Dera followers who had a free run as they went on the rampage.  In February last year, the BJP government in Haryana led by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar had failed to control the Jat agitation. Violence during the agitation had left 300 people dead and over 200 injured. Private and government property worth hundreds of crores was destroyed by the Jat agitators. IANS