Indian army patrols as masses support guru in rape case

PANCHKULA, India (AP) — Army and paramilitary soldiers are deployed across a north Indian town where masses supporting a flamboyant guru have gathered for the verdict in a court case accusing him of raping two of his followers.

The guru, who calls himself Saint Dr. Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Ji Insan, left his ashram early Friday in a 100-vehicle convoy to appear in court in the town of Panchkula. He has denied the charges.

About 100,000 of his followers were gathered in the town.

Supporters of the Dera Sacha Sauda religious sect squat by a road leading to a court in Panchkula, India, Friday, Aug. 25, 2017.  Several north Indian cities were under a security lock down Friday as a court was expected to issue a verdict in a rape case involving a man who calls himself Saint Dr. Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Ji Insan, the flamboyant leader of the quasi-religious sect. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

Supporters of the Dera Sacha Sauda religious sect squat by a road leading to a court in Panchkula, India, Friday, Aug. 25, 2017. Several north Indian cities were under a security lock down Friday as a court was expected to issue a verdict in a rape case involving a man who calls himself Saint Dr. Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Ji Insan, the flamboyant leader of the quasi-religious sect. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

Police have put the town on a security lockdown for fear that a guilty verdict could spark violence.

Police say army soldiers will later march through Panchkula’s barricaded streets.

A supporter of the Dera Sacha Sauda religious sect squat others to join her as Indian paramilitary soldiers stand guard on a barricaded road leading to a court in Panchkula, India, Friday, Aug. 25, 2017.  Several north Indian cities were under a security lock down Friday as a court was expected to issue a verdict in a rape case involving a man who calls himself Saint Dr. Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Ji Insan, the flamboyant leader of the quasi-religious sect. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

A supporter of the Dera Sacha Sauda religious sect squat others to join her as Indian paramilitary soldiers stand guard on a barricaded road leading to a court in Panchkula, India, Friday, Aug. 25, 2017. Several north Indian cities were under a security lock down Friday as a court was expected to issue a verdict in a rape case involving a man who calls himself Saint Dr. Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Ji Insan, the flamboyant leader of the quasi-religious sect. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

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