17 dead in Indian protests after godman convicted of rape


PV International Desk : Seventeen people were so far killed as violent protests erupted in India on Friday after a court convicted a self-styled “godman” of raping two women, angering thousands of his supporters who said he was innocent, police and lawyers said.Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, the head of a social welfare and spiritual group, was held guilty of raping two women followers in a case dating back to 2002 at the headquarters of his Dera Sacha Sauda group in the northern town of Sirsa.
Supporters rampaged in response, attacking railway stations, petrol stations and television vans in towns across the northern states of Punjab and Haryana, soon after the verdict was announced, witnesses said.
Three people were killed in Panchkula town where the court gave its verdict on Singh, deputy commissioner of police Panchkula Ashok Kumar said. Eighteen people were injured.