Ram Rahim murder trial: Witness wants to break silence after five years

Ram Rahim Singh, 50, appeared before the Panchakula CBI court through video conferencing from the Rohtak jail where is lodged after being sentenced to 20 years in prison in two rape cases.

The Chief of the Dera Sachha Sauda, Gurmeet Ram Rahim was held for trial in a murder case of two people on 16 Sep in the Special CBI court in Panchkula.

The CBI judge had granted permission for video-conferencing yesterday after Panchkula DCP Manbir Singh moved an application, contending that they can not bring the Dera chief in person due to law and order problem. The case relating to the murder of Dera Sacha Sauda manager Ranjit Singh will be heard on a daily basis from Monday and that relating to the killing of journalist Ram Chander Chhatrapati's case will be heard on September 22. However, Khatta Singh had changed his statement in 2012 out of fear of being murdered himself. Ram Rahim is accused of plotting Chattrapati's murder and joining the murder of Ranjit Singh. He has been named as the main conspirator in the cases.

The same court had awarded 20 years of rigorous imprisonment after finding him guilty in two rape cases on August 28. It will take some time for the case to come to its final hearing and for the court to announce its final decision.

Singh is in Rohtak District jail and appeared by video conference for the proceedings at the special CBI court which began in Panchkula today.

According to Haryana director general of police B.S. Sandhu, adequate para military and Haryana police personnel are stationed around the court complex in Sector 1 here and other areas in Panchkula town. The case, filed in 2002, accuses Ram Rahim of sexually exploiting two women followers at his ashram; he has denied any wrongdoing. He, too, was shot dead allegedly at the behest of Ram Rahim in July 2002.

Violence was also reported from other parts of Haryana and north India.

Vanessa Coleman