New Delhi: The signs were there, the authorities ignored it.

At 9.30am on Saturday, 25 August, Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh left Sirsa for Panchkula to hear the verdict by a special CBI court in two 15-year-old rape cases against him.

Crowds of Dera followers were building up in various parts of Haryana and Punjab, and an uneasy calm prevailed. At 3.05pm, the court ruled Ram Rahim Singh guilty, and mobs went on a rampage.

The violence cascaded into neighbouring districts. By midnight, violence had marked a presence across four states, and left 38 dead and over 250 injured. Here’s how those 15 hours unfolded in a ripple effect.

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