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Haryana govt to search Dera centres; 2,500 lathis recovered in Kurukshetra

The army was deployed in Haryana’s Panchkula after tens of thousands of followers of Ram Rahim Singh went on an angry rampage, attacking television vans and setting fire to dozens of private vehicles on Friday.

india Updated: Aug 26, 2017 13:53 IST
Gurmeet Ram Rahim,Ram Rahim case,Ram Rahim rape conviction
Supporters of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim pelt stones after a court verdict convicted the sect leader in a rape case, in Panchkula on Friday. (PTI)

The Haryana government ordered on Saturday a search of all congregation centres belonging to the Dera Sacha Sauda in the state, a senior official said. (Live updates)

The directive came a day after widespread violence and arson following the conviction of sect chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in a rape case led to the deaths of at least 30 people.

“We have ordered a search of all ‘naam charcha ghars’ (congregation centres) of the Dera Sacha Sauda wherever located in Haryana,” state additional chief secretary (Home) Ram Niwas told PTI.

“We have asked security personnel to conduct searches at all Dera centres thoroughly and seize any weapons found,” he added.

The search operation would include the Dera headquarters in Sirsa and the congregation centre in Panchkula, where a CBI court pronounced its judgement against the self-styled godman.

In an operation in Kurukshetra, police sealed the nine congregation centres of the Dera Sacha Sauda there. Security personnel evicted the sect’s supporters and seized over 2,500 lathis and sharp-edged weapons.

“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,” Kurukshetra SP Abhishek Garg said

For his part, Niwas claimed the situation in the state was under control and added that the army as well as paramilitary forces were deployed in Sirsa and Panchkula.

“All those who died in Panchkula were rioters. The intention of the rioters was to ransack Panchkula,” Niwas said.

He added that 28 vehicles, mostly belonging to the media, were torched by the rioters and 524 persons arrested.

“We have asked the media whose vehicles have been set afire by rioters to get FIRs registered and provide video footage of the violence,” he said.

First Published: Aug 26, 2017 13:31 IST