Ram Rahim sentencing: Tight security in west UP
Police believe the self-styled godman’s followers are spread across several states and may resort to violence again after the sentencing.Updated: Aug 28, 2017 13:31 IST
Uttar Pradesh has been put on high alert in view of the pronouncement of quantum of sentence to Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim whose supporters had run riot after his conviction in a rape case on Friday.
Police believe the self-styled godman’s followers are spread across several states and may resort to violence again after the sentencing.
In UP, Ram Rahim has followers in Saharanpur, Shamli, Baghpat, Bulandshahr, Gautam Buddha Nagar, Ghaziabad, Muzaffarnagar, Meerut and Hapur.
“Additional forces have been deployed in nine districts under Meerut zone due to its proximity with Haryana,” additional director general of police Anand Kumar told HT.
Section 144, which prohibits the assembly of four or more people, has been imposed in these districts. Restrictions have also been imposed in Bijnor, Rampur, Agra, Mathura, Firozabad, Mainpuri, Etah and Kasganj.
“The Dera has set up charcha ghars (discussion centres) in west UP where its followers assemble every morning. Since the Dera supporters have a presence in UP, we need to be on guard. The fact that several districts share borders with Harayana is another reason to be on our toes,” a police official said.
Dera Sacha Sauda has a big establishment in Barnawa town of Baghpat district and charcha ghar in Mawana, Modinagar and other places.
A few days ago, intelligence agencies had received inputs that hundreds of Dera followers from Aligarh had left for Panchkula in private cars and hired buses.
A large number of the followers are from Tappal, Pisawan, Chandaus, Atrauli, Gangeri, Charra, Harduaganj, Jalali, Akrabad, Iglas, Gonda and Aligarh. Police said the followers were being identified by the police stations concerned.
With police going after Dera followers in Haryana, many of them are expected to try and cross over to UP.
Senior superintendent of police, Aligarh, Rajesh Pandey said all station officers had been directed to stay alert.
Since Friday, additional director general, law and order, Anand Kumar has sent several missives to state police chiefs to ensure that Ram Rahim’s sympathisers or followers are not allowed to hold any protest in the state.
Anti-riot police force has been asked to be in a state of readiness and the police are also keeping a watch on social media. “Any attempt to foment mischief through social media will be strongly dealt with,” Kumar said.
To stop any infiltration attempts at night, directions have been issued to ensure adequate lighting arrangements in districts adjoining Haryana.
A Dera follower, on condition of anonymity, told HT on phone, “Fearing police action, we are pretending to be ordinary travellers.”
(Inputs from S Raju, Meerut/Pradeep Saxena Aligarh and Hemendra Chaturvedi Agra)
First Published: Aug 28, 2017 13:31 IST