Plastic coins recovered in search at Gurmeet Ram Rahim’s Dera Sacha Sauda headquarters
Officials entered the Sira headquarters of the Dera Sacha Sauda with commandos, police canines and 4,000 paramilitary soldiers as the district administration shut down mobile internet services to thwart any backlash from supporters.india Updated: Sep 08, 2017 19:55 IST
Plastic coins or tokens of Re 1 and Rs 10 denomination were recovered on Friday as police and forensics officials began searching the 600-acre campus of Dera Sacha Sauda, whose chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh has been sentenced to 20 years in for raping two women.
The officials entered the Sira campus with commandos, police canines and 4,000 paramilitary soldiers as the district administration shut down mobile internet services to thwart any backlash from Dera supporters.
According to a PTI report, shops in and around the Dera campus have ‘sach’ (truth) prefixed to their names and give out the plastic coins to customers if they are unable to tender change in Indian rupees.
These coins -- engraved with the words ‘Dhan Dhan Satguru Tera hi Asara, Dera Sacha Sauda Sirsa’ -- can be used to buy items at the ‘sach’ shops later. The Dera campus has a township of its own, with schools, a sports village, a hospital and a cinema hall. Owners of the ‘sach’ shops have different colour codes for the plastic coins.
Singh’s followers ran riot last month hours after his conviction, destroying crores in public and private property before police opened fire to stop them. More than 30 people were killed in the violence.
On Friday, Sirsa and surrounding regions were tense as the sanitisation exercise began. “Pharmacy medicines without label, OB van, Lexus car without number found inside the Dera,” said Satish Mehra, the deputy director of Haryana government’s public relations department. Mehra added that cash had also been found, but it was yet to be counted.
Hours before the sanitation drive began, the mouthpiece of the spiritual cult said that skeletons were buried inside the campus, which is spread in two clusters of 600 acres and 100 acres. The campus includes a stadium, a resort, a hospital, educational institutions and sprawling bungalows of the sect’s leaders. Most members were permanent residents of the township.
The sanitisation process will be videographed and is being overseen by retired District and Sessions Judge, AKS Pawar, who was appointed as Court Commissioner by the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday.
First Published: Sep 08, 2017 19:01 IST