Riot police are deployed and internet services shut down in Punjab and Haryana before sentencing of Ram Rahim Singh

India has deployed thousands of riot police and shut down internet services in two northern states before the sentencing of a self-styled “god man” whose followers were involved in deadly clashes with authorities after he was convicted of rape on Friday.

Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, leader of the Dera Sacha Sauda sect, has a vast rural following in Punjab and Haryana states, where his furious supporters burned down petrol stations and train stations and torched vehicles after a local court found him guilty of raping two women in a 2002 case.

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