In a convoy of 200 cars, drones and the spiritual guru Gurmeet Rahim Singh headed towards the town of Panchkula and helicopters took charge of the skies to survey the huge groups of his devotees that have gathered in the town. The court has found Ram Rahim guilty of rape.
The Punjab and Haryana High Court ordered the use of force, in a second round of indictment of the police and administration, if needed, and said any incidents of arson must be filmed to identify the culprits. They also asked for video footage of the court to review if it was appropriately protected. The judges said yesterday to the government that he was already guilty of dereliction of duty by allowing Panchkula to turn into an outpost of Ram Rahim's sect, the Dera Sacha Sauda.
Followers of Ram Rahim nearly 1, 50, 000 have settled into Panchkula where the verdict was delivered at a local court. To prevent an influx into Panchkula they easily bypassed barricades meant, and said they must respectfully ignore Ram Rahim's appeal, issued at midnight, asking them to disperse.
Some say they are present to show solidarity with their chief, who has denied raping two women followers in 2002.
15,000 paramilitary troops are on the streets along with the police to guard against an eruption of violence. Schools and colleges and government offices are closed, Trains and buses have been cancelled, mobile internet services have been cut off, and the army is ready to step in if needed.