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‘Why didn’t you do enough’: HC pulls up Haryana govt, Centre after Dera violence | 5 points

Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar has been drawing flak for letting nearly 200,000 followers of the controversial but influential spiritual leader to gather in Panchkula.

india Updated: Aug 27, 2017 18:51 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Haryana govt,Haryana,Dera Sacha Sauda
Security forces at the Chandigarh border after violence in Panchkula. (Keshav Singh/HT Photo)

The Centre and Haryana government came under scrutiny for administrative lapses after at least 31 people were killed in riots that broke out on Friday when the Dera Sacha Sauda sect chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was convicted.

Over the last few days, the Punjab and Haryana high court has been hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by a Panchkula resident, who had raised law and order concerns and stated that over 1.5 lakh people had entered the Haryana district despite prohibitory orders.

Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar has been drawing flak for letting nearly 200,000 followers of the controversial but influential spiritual leader to gather in Panchkula before a CBI court in the township held him guilty of raping two women 15 years ago.

The HC bench comprises of Chief Justice S Singh Saron, Justice Avneesh Jhingan and Justice Surya Kant

Here’s how the three-member bench pulled up the government for security lapses in the state:

‘Political surrender’

The court observed that the BJP government seemed to have “surrendered before the followers of Dera Sacha Sauda for political considerations”.

“This was a political surrender to allure vote bank... they were outsiders, you allowed them to enter and stay”, the court said, a day after Dera followers went on a rampage.

Dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh has in the past publiclly announced his support for political parties during polls, including for the BJP-Akali alliance ahead of Punjab assembly election.

‘PM is of India, not BJP’

The court termed the Centre’s response to the violence “only a knee-jerk reaction”.

“The PM is of the nation and not of the BJP. National integrity is above parties. Are we one nation or a party nation?” asked the bench of acting chief justice SS Saron and justices Surya Kant and Avneesh Jhingan.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday condemned the violence and appealed for peace. “Instances of violence are deeply distressing. Strongly condemn violence urge everyone to maintain peace,” he tweeted.

‘Why didn’t you prevent entry of people’

The high court also took note of CM Manohar Lal Khattar’s statement on Saturday in which he blamed anti-social elements for the violence, which also spilled over into neighbouring Punjab, Rajasthan and Delhi.

“If the CM came to know in a day about antisocial elements, why couldn’t you prevent their entry over the past seven days?... How is it that you failed to take note when large number of Dera followers arrived in Panchkula.”

Suspended officer ‘scapegoat’

After the state government suspended on Saturday the Panchkula deputy commissioner of police for the lapses, the court said said the officer was made a “scapegoat” and sought an investigation into the shoddy security arrangements that failed to control the rampaging mobs.

Other directions

On Friday, the HC had ordered the Dera to pay for all damages and sought a list of its movable, immovable properties, bank accounts and incomes.

The court also sought a status report on the deaths in the violence.

First Published: Aug 27, 2017 18:51 IST