Panchkula violence: Charges framed against 149 dera followers, trial begins on April 7
If found guilty, the accused may be convicted from seven years to life imprisonment if charges are proved.chandigarh Updated: Mar 06, 2018 23:20 IST
More than six months after violence, rioting and arson in Panchkula, in the aftermath of Dera Sacha Sauda chief’s conviction in rape case, the court framed charges against 149 sect’s followers on Monday evening.
The accused pleaded not guilty and now the trial will begin from April 7 where prosecution witness is told to be present.
All the accused are out on bail. As many as 36 people lost their lives during those clashes, besides damages to properties worth crores.
The court of additional sessions judge Rajan Walia has framed charges against 149 dera followers under Sections 120 B (criminal conspiracy) to be read with 148 (unlawful assembly), 149 (common purpose), 295A (Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings) 427, 435 and 436 (Mischief causing damage to public property by using deadly substance), 452 (trespassing), besides 3 and 4 of Prevention of Damage of Public Property Act read with Section 149 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
The accused, who belong from Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab and Haryana, were arrested by Sector-14 police station and an FIR was registered for causing mayhem in Sector 16 by putting the bank, hotel and showrooms on fire during clashes on August 25, 2017. Also, government properties around Hafed Chowk in Sectors 2, 5 and 16 were also damaged.
If found guilty, the accused may be convicted from seven years to life imprisonment if charges are proved.
Around 1,100 dera followers, including core committee members of the Sirsa based sect, are facing 200 cases of rioting and other charges, which are at various stages of legal scrutiny at the local court here. Trial has begun only in a handful of cases.
There are 10 cases where police have slapped sedition charges but they are struggling to maintain these charges in the absence of permission from the state government.
Of all the cases, case against dera chief’s daughter Honeypreet and 45 dera management committee members is considered vital as it revolves around the alleged conspiracy in plotting the violence in Panchkula.
Framing of charges against Honeypreet, others deferred
The arguments on framing of charges against Honeypreet Insan, the adopted daughter of rape convict Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh and 14 others was deferred to March 28. She was produced amid tight security at the district court here on Tuesday.