Unrest after Ram Rahim verdict: Paramilitary, not army, saved the day, says Panchkula police commissioner
“I would like to place on record the invaluable support by para military forces (misunderstood as Army by many) in the operation on 25th Aug,” the commissioner tweeted on Sunday.punjab Updated: Sep 04, 2017 13:00 IST
Clearing the air on how violence in Panchkula was controlled on August 25, city police commissioner AS Chawla on Sunday said, “It was the paramilitary forces, and not the Indian Army, that helped state police in controlling unruly dera followers.”
The mob went on a rampage soon after CBI court held dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim guilty of raping two of his disciples. “I would like to place on record the invaluable support by para military forces (misunderstood as Army by many) in the operation on 25th Aug,” Chawla tweeted on Sunday.
His take assumes significance since there was a lot of confusion over the role of security forces in the entire operation as many reports had claimed the situation came under control after army was pressed into service when clashes broke out on the streets of Panchkula. As many as 35 dera followers lost their lives and many sustained injuries.
‘6 columns of army arrived in evening after situation was under control’
Talking to HT after his tweet, Chawla said his statement did not mean to disgrace any institution but to put the facts straight. Many people in public and private told him the good work of the army in the operation.
“There is no denying of the fact that army had a positive role creating enough deterrent. But six columns of army arrived here in the evening when the situation was brought under control. Even army is not claiming to have involved in firing on the ground,” he said.
Chawla added that “it was largely a joint operation of paramilitary companies and state police, which had direct contact with unruly crowd and their collaborative effort helped in flushing them out when the situation turned tense here that day in the afternoon.”
“There is no denying of the fact that army had a positive role creating enough deterrent.”
“I thank the people of Panchkula for cooperating with us during this tough time. The city has been saved,” he emphasised. According to him, the deployment of the paramilitary forces was slow initially slow but “we had 50 companies with us on the final day that strengthened our anti-rioting and crowd-controlling measures in the afternoon.”
However, Chawla’s statement raises important issues as to what led to the delay in deployment of army, which many believed, could have reduced the fatalities in the entire operation if they had intervened in the days leading up to the gathering of dera followers.
He said that he is not in a position to talk about these issues. He said the army was on standby and was brought here accordingly.