PANCHKULA: Six followers of the Dera Sacha Sauda have been acquitted due to lack of evidence in the case related to violence following the arrest of the cult's leader Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in Panchkula. The followers namely - Gyaniram, Sanga Singh, Hoshiyar Singh, Ravi, Tarsem and Ram Kishan - were accused of rioting after Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was convicted of rape.
All the six had been accused of rioting and damaging public property under sections of Indian Penal Code, as well as Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, in the violence on December 2.
Earlier in July, a Panchkula court had framed charges for rioting, attempt to murder, use of explosive substances against 41 people but dropped the sedition clauses.
In May, a local court had acquitted six more followers and was critical of the prosecution for not having proved the charges. In February, a Panchkula court had dropped sedition charges against 53 Dera followers in another FIR related to the violence.
At least 28 people had been killed and 250 had been injured in widespread violence, arson and police firing that was triggered after the self-styled godman's conviction by a special CBI court in a 2002 rape case. Thousands of followers went on the rampage, setting fire to vehicles, buildings and railway stations.
The unrest which began in Panchkula where the verdict was handed down, spread to other parts of Haryana and Punjab and even New Delhi where a bus and train were set on fire.
As many as 239 FIRs had been registered by the Panchkula police in different police stations in connection with the violence cases last year.