The hearing, 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 in Panchkula. Ram Rahim, who is currently lodged at Rohtak’s Sunaria jail, will appear through video conferencing.
Ram Rahim was sentenced to 20 years in jail on August 28 in two separate rape cases by the same CBI Court.
The security agencies have strengthened the security cover in and around Panchkula to avoid an encore of the violence that his conviction led to on August 25 when scores of Dera supporters damaged property worth crores in Panchkula, where the court announced its decision. Its ripple effect was witnessed in Sirsa, the headquarters of the sect and other towns in Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan. According to the police, about 40 people were killed and over 200 were left injured in the violence.
“We have made adequate security arrangements ahead of the hearing in the cases,” Haryana Director General of Police BS Sandhu said. Contingents of paramilitary troops and the Haryana Police have been stationed in Panchkula to prevent any untoward incident, he said.
Mr Chhatrapati was shot at in October, 2002 after his evening newspaper ‘Poora Sach’, published an anonymous letter by women alleging sexual exploitation by the sect head at the Dera headquarters. He died later.
Former Dera manager Ranjit Singh was also allegedly shot dead the same year. He was allegedly murdered for his suspected role in the circulation of the anonymous letter by the victims.