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Rediff.com  » News » Dera violence claims 4 more lives; toll up to 36 in Haryana

Dera violence claims 4 more lives; toll up to 36 in Haryana

Last updated on: August 26, 2017 21:17 IST

Self-styled spiritual guru and rape convict Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was moved to a prison in Haryana's Rohtak late Friday as a court in Panchkula found him guilty of raping two women followers in 2002.

Here are the developments following the conviction. 

Violence claims 4 more lives in Haryana:

IMAGE: The aftermath of the violence is still visible in Panchkula after Dera followers went on a rampage on Friday, burning vehicles and attacking media personnel and security forces officials. Photograph: PTI Photo

The death toll in the violence following Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh's conviction in a rape case climbed up to 36 on Saturday even as there was no report of fresh violence in Haryana.

 

State authorities are now trying to ensure that there are no untoward incidents on Monday when the special CBI court judge will be flown to the district jail in Sunaria in Rohtak for pronouncing the quantum of sentence.

"Thirty six people have died, out of which six casualties are in Sirsa and remaining are in Panchkula," DGP B S Sandhu said on Saturday evening.

Thirteen persons from among the 36 deceased have been identified, the police said.

No untoward incident was reported from neighbouring Punjab also as security forces conducted flag marches and kept a tight vigil in the sensitive areas. Curfew was also relaxed at some places where it had been imposed.


2 cases of sedition filed against Dera followers: 

IMAGE: Police baton charge a supporter of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim who were indulging in violence after their chief's conviction. Photograph: PTI Photo

A day after 32 people died and hundreds injured in violence following the conviction of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, the Haryana government claimed on Saturday that peace had been restored throughout the state.

Two cases of sedition have been registered against the Dera chief’s followers, Haryana Chief Secretary D S Dhesi said and added that one child and three women were among the 28 persons who died in Panchkula on Friday.

“Peace is prevailing throughout the state and no incident has occurred anywhere after 6.30 pm on Friday,” Dhesi told a press conference.

Dhesi also said that proper security arrangements had been made for Monday, when the quantum of Singh’s sentence will be announced by the CBI court.

The police have recovered an AK-47 rifle and one Mauser from the vehicle of a Dera chief’s follower, and two rifles and five pistols from another vehicle, he said.

As many as 524 persons have been arrested under eight different FIRs registered against the Dera followers, he said.       

Dhesi also said that casualties during the violence following delivery of the verdict against Dera chief in Panchkula on Friday did not include any local resident.

“In all, 28 persons including 24 men, three women and one child, were killed during the violence in Panchkula, whereas three persons were killed in Sirsa. As many as 250 persons were injured, including 50 police personnel. Of these, 101 persons have been referred to hospitals outside Panchkula for treatment whereas 31 have been discharged,” he said.

None of the injured belonged to Panchkula, Dhesi said.


Army has no immediate plan to enter Dera HQ:

IMAGE: Army personnel take positions after deployment near Dera Sacha Sauda in Sirsa on Saturday, following violence triggered by the conviction of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in a rape case. Photograph: Vijay Verma/PTI Photo

The army has no immediate plan of entering Dera Sacha Sauda sect headquarters and it is focusing on maintaining law and order in the wake of violence triggered by the rape conviction of sect head Gurmeet Ram Rahim, a top officer said on Saturday.

The army along with the police and paramilitary forces has put up barricades at entry points of the Dera premises, where tens of thousands of Dera followers, including women and childen, stayed put despite an appeal by authorities to leave.

“There is no plan so far to enter the Dera headquarters here. We are focusing on maintenance of law and order presently,” General Officer Commanding(GOC), 33 Armoured Division, Rajpal Punia said in a media briefing.

His remarks came after Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Ram Niwas said that search of all ‘congregation centres’ of Dera Sacha Sauda in Haryana has been ordered.

The Army and district authorities have been appealing through loudspeakers, asking those inside the Dera premises to leave.


Panchkula DCP suspended

IMAGE: A man surveys the damage after a day of violence in Panchkula, Haryana. Photograph: Cathal McNaughton/Reuters

Facing flak over failure to check violence by Dera Sacha Sauda followers, Haryana government on Saturday suspended the Deputy Commissioner of Police of Panchkula, alleging that a “defective” order by him allowed the crowd build-up in the district.

“Yes there was a lapse and that why we have suspended DCP Panchkula,” Haryana Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Ram Niwas said, adding that the prohibitory order issued by the officer only barred carrying of weapons and not a gathering of five or more persons.

An official order said that IPS officer Ashok Kumar, DCP Panchkula, has been put under suspension with immediate effect.

At least 31 people were killed and 250 injured in Panchkula after frenzied Dera followers went on a rampage following the rape conviction of self-styled godman Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh by a special Central Bureau of Investigation court on Friday.

“It was because of the defective prohibitory orders issued under Section 144 by the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Panchkula) that a large number of Dera followers managed to come to Panchkula,” Niwas said.


Dera chief’s Z-plus security cover withdrawn

IMAGE: The situation in Panchkula was tense and the security forces were on high alert following the violence that killed 31 people on Friday. Photograph: Cathal McNaughton/Reuters

Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh’s ‘Z-plus’ security cover was withdrawn after his conviction in a rape case, Haryana Chief Secretary D S Dhesi said.

He also denied any special treatment being given to the Dera chief in a Rohtak jail after being held guilty in a 15-year-old rape case by a Central Bureau of Investigation court in Panchkula on Friday.

“The moment he was arrested yesterday, his ‘Z plus’ security cover stood automatically withdrawn,” Dhesi told a press conference.

“He is being treated as an ordinary prisoner. It was reported that he was being an air conditioner, there is nothing like that. As far as food is concerned, he is served the same food which other prisoners have,” he added.           

Asked about the number of visitors the Dera chief would be meeting him in the jail, Singh said every prisoner can give names of five persons whom he wants to meet, and he will also be allowed to meet them only like any other ordinary prisoners.


Dera followers detained

IMAGE: A security personnel stands towards vehicles burning in violence following Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim’s conviction in Panchkula. Photograph: PTI Photo

Police has detained 15 Dera Sacha Sauda followers since Friday night in Sirsa even as the authorities have appealed to over one lakh supporters still present in the sect headquarters to vacate the premises.

The situation in Sirsa remained tense but under control, according to police.

"Police have detained 15 anti-social elements since last night," Sirsa SP Ashwin Shenvi said.

Another senior police official said the authorities have appealed the Dera followers to vacate the compound of sect headquarters.

Army has taken control of the area after two people died is Sirsa on Friday following violence triggered by the conviction of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in a sexual exploitation case.

At least 31 people have been killed and 250 injured in widespread violence, arson and police firing in Haryana on Friday.


9 Dera centres sealed; 2,500 lathis recovered from Kurukshetra

IMAGE: Dera followers have gathered in large numbers outside the headquarters. 
Photograph: PTI Photo

The Kurukshetra Police on Saturday sealed the nine congregation centres of the Dera Sacha Sauda in the district, evicting the followers, and seized over 2,500 lathis and other sharp-edged weapons during a search operation there.

After evicting Dera followers, a large number of security personnel have been deployed outside the Dera Sacha Sauda’s congregation centres to prevent any untoward incident.

“All the nine Naam Charcha Ghars (congregation centres) in the district have been sealed and entry to these centres has been banned,” said Kurukshetra SP Abhishek Garg.

The move came after the incidents of widespread violence and arson in Haryana following the conviction self-styled godman and sect chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh on Friday in a 15-year-old rape case by a CBI court in Punchkula.

Police carried out search operation in the congregation centres during which they found more than 2,500 lathis and other sharp edges weapons from the premises.

“We have recovered 2,500 lathis, some sharp-edged weapons and 2.5 litre kerosene during the search operation.

“We have evicted all the followers from the congregation centres and locked all the nine Naam Charcha Ghars in Kurkshetra,” Garg said. 

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