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Indian city barricaded as ´rape guru´ awaits sentencing

SIRSA: Supporters of an Indian guru ended a tense standoff with soldiers Sunday after the “godman” was convicted of rape, but authorities are bracing for more trouble on the eve of his sentencing after rioting by devotees left 36 dead.

Thousands of followers of Ram Rahim Singh had congregated in the spiritual headquarters of his sect in the northern state of Haryana over the weekend and refused to leave, despite calls from police and troops for them to disperse.

Singh´s loyalists had gone on a rampage in many other parts of the state after the court decision Friday.

On Sunday, followers began trickling out from the compound in the town of Sirsa one by one under army guard.

Hundreds of soldiers and riot police had blocked approaches to the premises spread over 1,000 acres (404 hectares) and were urging those holed up inside to surrender peacefully.

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