Ram Rahim rape verdict: Army seizes old Sirsa dera; death toll reaches 6 in Sirsa | punjab | top | Hindustan Times
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Ram Rahim rape verdict: Army seizes old Sirsa dera; death toll reaches 6 in Sirsa

Several hundred dera activists fled the dera premises in the past mid-night hours as a few were rounded up while running away in the wee hours, police sources said.

punjab Updated: Aug 27, 2017 00:41 IST
Prabhjit Singh & Bhaskar Mukherjee
Prabhjit Singh & Bhaskar Mukherjee
Hindustan Times, Sirsa
Ram Rahim,Ram Rahim rape verdict,Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh
Army during a flag march in Sirsa.(HT Photo)

The army took control of Sirsa on Saturday evening as the official death toll in clashes between the security forces and the Dera Sacha Sauda activists reached 6 in the past 24 hours amid curfew in the city.

Inside the city, ambulances rushed in different directions, while there were reports of many more dead inside the dera headquarters hospital as well.

After an overnight standoff, the security forces, which also included the paramilitary and the state police, reached near the dera headquarters on the Begu Road on Saturday evening to seize control of the dera premises.

The six deceased included a woman dera follower, Veena Devi from Fatehabad, who succumbed to bullet injuries late Friday night. The others, all dera men, were identified as Wazir Chand, Kala Singh and Vinod Kumar, all from Sirsa; Robin from Jind and Sahil from Ratia town of the adjoining Fatehabad district.

Earlier at a press conference, Maj Gen Rajpal Punia of 33 Division of the army said, “Not even a single army jawan forcefully entered the dera premises.” He said their top priority was to maintain law and order in Sirsa.

“The situation is under control right now. Heavy deployment has been made. The top priority is to maintain law and order,” he said.

2 PUNJAB COPS AMONG 4 ROUNDED UP

Several hundred dera activists fled the dera premises in the past midnight hours as a few were rounded up while running away in the wee hours, police sources said.

Police sources said four people have been rounded up from outside the dera premises. Two of them were Punjab cops, who were reportedly part of the official security provided to the dera by the Punjab government.

There were reports that several armed men were still inside the old premises of the dera, 4 km ahead of the dera headquarters, Sirsa sub-divisional magistrate (SDM ) Paramjeet Singh Chahel told HT. “Announcements have already been made from outside the dera premises as an appeal to all those inside to surrender,” he said.

Curfew has also been imposed in Dabwali sub-division of Sirsa, from where the Punjab borders and Rajasthan border is just 10km away.”

First Published: Aug 26, 2017 18:49 IST