The tension escalates outside the CBI court as it remands the self-appointed spiritual leader and Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in a 15-year-old sexual exploitation case. Incidentally, the state of Haryana, Punjab and Chandigarh have been put on high alert as 35,000 of his followers throng the high court premises and the 'Naam Charcha Ghar' (congregation/prayer centre) in Chandigarh’s Sector 23 to collectively demand his release.

Certainly, a law and order situation where the court is kept wondering why the police let the congregation happen in the first place. Now, many more are expected to reach the spot soon. The hearing was first scheduled for August 25, but was postponed to August 28, following the rising tension over the issue. Close to 10,000 paramilitary forces have been deployed to oversee the law and order situation and more have been requested to join in. Latest updates suggest that those at the site could be seen with sharp weapons and lathis, building up for an armed unrest.

Fearing massive outbursts if the verdict goes against the Dera chief, the private and government schools in Panchkula have been given a holiday on the 24th and the 25th of August. In fact, the Haryana government has announced gazetted holiday in government offices and educational institutions.  Fearing the spread of unrest, authorities have even blocked mobile internet usage for the next 72 hours. Also, bus services to Chandigarh have been suspended. Also 22 trains in Haryana have been cancelled. 

However, this is not the first instance when this 'messenger of God' gathered nation-wide criticism. It was rape this time, but he was also involved in cases pertaining to murder, divisive politics of religion and handling of illegal weapons. Here's what you didn't know about him:

He hurt the sikh sentiments: Way back in 2007, the dera chief had hit the headlines because of an alleged appearence resembling the tenth Sikh Guru Gobind Singh in an advertisement. This hurt the sentiments of the Sikh who had even attacked the Dera disciples and the leader himself. Clashes between two groups followed, leading to unrest. A criminal case was filed against him and in this case, he was released on 2009.

The death of Ranjit Singh: This is intricately related to the case that is breweing up a storm right now. One Ranjit Singh was shot in the head on July 10, 2012, most likely by the dera followers in Kurukshetra. The CBI alleges that the man was shot dead because Ram Rahim believed that he was behind an anonymous letter of a sadhvi who levelled rape allegations against the godman. 

Murder of journalist Ram Chander Chattrapati: This case is still pending with the CBI. The dera head is the prime suspect in the murder of a journalist, employed with a small-time newspaper Poora Sach. Chattrapati was shot dead on October 24,2002 for writing about the illegal activities going on inside the dera.

Castration of 400 followers: It was reported that close to 400 disciples were manipulated in the dera premises to get castration done so that sexual advances toward female sadhvis could be avoided. The investigation on the same began after one of his devotees claimed to have been manipulated into undergoing the painful procedure on the pretext of union with God through the dera chief. 

Illegal weapons in the dera: Gurmeet Ram Rahim came under the scanner of the Haryana and the Punjab High Court, after the Rampal case, after a tip-off that arms training was taking place at the dera. To this, the High Court opined, "training of private commandos and arming them with illegal weapons to protect some individuals would definitely pose a challenge not only to the judiciary, but also to the state."