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Ram Rahim sentencing today: 10 things that happened after Dera chief’s conviction

Haryana Police on Sunday said tight security was in place ahead of the pronouncement of the quantum of sentence for Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim.

india Updated: Aug 28, 2017 13:04 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Dera Sacha Sauda,Ram Rahim sentencing,Dera clashes
Army soldiers conduct a flag march amid a curfew after their deployment in Jalandhar.(PTI File Photo)

Violence erupted in Haryana and neighbouring states on Friday, when Dera Sacha Sauda supporters clashed with security forces after sect head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh’s conviction in a rape case. With the sentencing likely to be carried out on Monday, the authorities do not want to leave anything to chance.

Although the situation seems to be under control, the Haryana government has mobilised Army and paramilitary personnel in Panchkula and other vulnerable places to ensure that Dera followers do not go on a rampage again. The priority, for now, is to secure the area surrounding Rohtak Jail because the court judgement on quantum of punishment will be delivered there.

Singh was held guilty of raping two women followers in a case that dates back to 2002. Here’s what happened after the verdict:

1) Violence erupts, Army deployed

Large scale violence erupted in Haryana and Punjab minutes after Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was held guilty of raping two women disciples on Friday. At least 36 people died in the clashes between Dera supporters and security forces.

Apart from the Army, seven companies of paramilitary forces, including the Central Reserve Police Force, Rapid Action Force and Sashastra Seema Bal were deployed in Haryana’s Sirsa town.

2) Curfew imposed in Haryana and Punjab

Tens of thousands of Dera followers took to the streets in Haryana and Punjab, attacked television vans and set fire to dozens of vehicles, prompting authorities to call in the Army and impose a curfew.

3) Section 144 in Delhi, Noida, Ghaziabad

The spiral of violence triggered by Singh’s conviction engulfed Delhi too, throwing police into a tizzy. Ten buses were burnt in the Capital, and Delhi Police imposed prohibitory orders under section 144 of the CrPC — prohibiting assembly of more than four people — across 11 districts. Incidents of arson were reported from at least 12 places across the city.

Section 144 was also imposed on adjoining Noida and Ghaziabad as a precautionary measure.

4) VIP treatment for Baba?

Reports said Singh, who was taken from Panchkula to Rohtak jail in a chopper due to security concerns, received VIP treatment from the Haryana government in prison.

The Dera head was allegedly provided an air-conditioned room in the prison. Haryana police, however, have issued a denial in this regard.

Singh — designated as Qaidi No 1997 — was reportedly accompanied by his daughter, Honeypreet, in the helicopter.

5) Haryana deputy AG sacked for carrying Baba’s luggage

On Saturday, the Haryana government sacked its deputy advocate general for “accompanying” Singh after his conviction. The action against Gurdas Salwara came after a video clip purportedly showed the government official — dressed in lawyer’s robes — carrying a suitcase of the Dera head after his conviction by the CBI court in Panchkula.

6) Centre’s clean chit to CM Manohar Lal Khattar

Despite the Haryana government admitting to security lapses, the BJP leadership on Sunday ruled out the removal of chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar. Denying the allegations levelled against Khattar, they said his government had managed to control the situation in just three hours with “minimum possible damage”.

“There is no such consideration,” BJP general secretary Anil Jain replied, when asked if the party was planning to take action against the chief minister. The Haryana government had earlier come under fire for allegedly botching up an investigation into the Jat quota agitation.

7) Punjab and Haryana HC pulls up government, Centre

On Saturday, the Punjab and Haryana high court took both Khattar and the central government to task for failing to contain the violence in the state. “The Prime Minister is of the nation, and not the BJP,” the high court said, wondering why the Centre is “treating the region as colonies”.

The court also criticised the BJP government in Haryana for “politically surrendering” to the Dera Sacha Sauda, which claims to have 50 million followers across northern India and is understood to wield considerable political clout.

8) PM Modi condemns violence

A day after tweeting about the Haryana violence, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in his monthly radio address ‘Mann Ki Baat’ on Sunday that violence in the name of faith will not be tolerated and “everyone will have to bow before the law”.

“Instances of violence today are deeply distressing. I strongly condemn the violence & urge everyone to maintain peace,” he had tweeted on Saturday.

9) Dera supporters arrested for sedition charges

Some Dera Sacha Sauda supporters who resorted to violence in Panchkula after Singh’s conviction have been booked under two cases of sedition.

The state government said an AK-47, six pistols and two rifles were also recovered from a vehicle in the Dera head’s motorcade.

10) Dera followers trickle out of headquarters

Thousands of Dera followers who had congregated at the sect’s headquarters in Sirsa began trickling out under Army guard on Sunday.

Hundreds of soldiers and riot police personnel had blocked the approach routes to the premises, spread over 1,000 acres, and were urging those holed up inside to surrender peacefully.

First Published: Aug 28, 2017 09:59 IST