Indian spiritual guru gets 20 years in prison

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Media reports said he broke down and begged for forgiveness with folded hands when the first sentence was passed. We have asked court that he is serving so much to the society so his punishment should be reduced. He also cried before the verdict and sought forgiveness from the court.

Under Section 376, the minimum punishment for rape is seven years and the maximum is life imprisonment. The prosecution wanted the case to be treated as "rarest of the rare".

They attacked railway stations, petrol stations and television vans in towns across the northern states of Punjab and Haryana.

The conviction of the Dera chief in the CBI court in Panchkula on Friday had sparked off large-scale violence by his followers which left 38 people dead and 264 others injured.

A senior police officer in Haryana told the press today "tough action will be taken against the rioters".

The yoga guru, who was here to attend a private function, said that the entire saint community should not be seen in a bad light because of people like Gurmeet Ram Rahim getting convicted in a criminal case.

Thousands of India's soldiers deployed Monday to stave off a repeat of Friday's violent riots over a famous guru's rape sentencing. "I am innocent", he wailed, before he was taken away by commandos. "The CBI judge did not give any orders, citing it outside his jurisdiction, and that if Honeypreet willingly wants to stay with him, then government or the concerned jail authority can give approval".

The case has taken almost 15 years to reach the verdict stage. Besides, 14 lakh will be given to each of the victims.

Interestingly, the Dera's official website claims that the on August 15, 2009, the Gurmeet Ram Rahim followers created a Guiness Record of planting more than 9,38,007 trees in just one hour.

The complaint in the case was filed in 2002. He survived for a few days to name Ram Rahim in his statement to the police.

Speaking to India TV on Tuesday, Inspector General of Indian Reserve Battalion, KK Rao, said that the Haryana Police personnel attached to the Dera chief were part of a plan to facilitate the escape of Ram Rahim following his conviction. Ranjit Singh was allegedly killed for helping expose the sexual abuse of devotees inside the ashram.