‘Curfew’ to ‘D-day’: Punjab newspapers headline Ram Rahim’s date with court
Controversial chief of Dera Sacha Sauda is accused of raping his followers.Updated: Aug 25, 2017 12:33 IST
Haryana, Punjab and Chandigarh are under tight security as Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh heads for a court in Panchkula town to hear verdict in a rape case..
Almost 200,000 supporters of Dera Sacha Sauda chief gathered at Panchkula in a show of support, effectively bringing Chandigarh and parts of Punjab and Haryana to a halt. Schools, colleges and government offices were shut, public transport was halted and in a rare move, mobile internet services were suspended to stop rumour mongering. The army remained on standby while security forces monitored the city. Curfew has been imposed in Sirsa, where the Dera’s headquarters are situated
A look at the front pages of Punjab’s leading newspapers shows they led with Ram Rahim’s scheduled court appearance and making Supreme Court declaring privacy as fundamental right their second lead.
Punjabi daily Ajit’s front page gave details of the judgment today, along with a photo of security forces on alert. The page one also mentions that the Dera chief will appear in court today and has a news item on the High Court pulling up the Haryana government for allowing this tense situation to arise.
Punjab Kesari’s headline compared the situation to a curfew. The rest of the news items on the front page bear out the curfew comparison - the high court asking the government what it was doing for residents of Panchkula who aren’t able to step out of their homes; Amarinder Singh’s comment that the government can impose curfew anywhere if needed; and news that the Punjab-Haryana border has been sealed.
The Ram Rahim verdict was front page news for all English-language dailies in Punjab as well. The Tribune, one of the oldest papers of Punjab, had a front-page headline saying ‘D-DAY, ARMY CALLED OUT’, in all-capital letters, signalling the seriousness of the situation.
The story stretched beyond the half page and included infographics on the possible trial rulings plus an explainer of the rape case.
Security lockdown in Punjab and Haryana over the verdict on a rape case against Ram Rahim Singh was the focal point of Hindustan Times’ Chandigarh edition. The headline read: Lockdown in Punjab, Haryana, army called in, curfew in Sirsa
The other coverage included the spiritual guru’s controversies, his political following and his devotees. Sample this headline: Baba Bling thrives on claims and controversies
The Times of India
The Times of India’s Fist Page article stuck to the Punjab and Harya na high court’s direction to the state government to improve security ahead of the verdict. “Won’t allow you to burn Haryana again, says HC” -- the headline read.
First Published: Aug 25, 2017 12:03 IST