Normalcy returns after Ram Rahim’s rape verdict: Peace in Punjab, Haryana, barring stray arson in Sirsa

No violence reported: Curfew to be eased soon in Sirsa; mobile data services to be restored from Tuesday in Punjab

punjab Updated: Aug 29, 2017 11:30 IST
HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh/Sirsa/Bathinda
Ram Rahim,Ram Rahim rape verdict,Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh
A policeman stands guard during curfew in Patiala on Monday. (Bharat Bhushan/HT)

Peace prevailed in Haryana and Punjab on Monday, as the two states kept up tight vigil to avert a re-run of the violence unleashed by supporters of the Dera Sacha Sauda after the sect head was convicted of rape by the CBI court.

The security forces, which were apprehensive of violence, heaved a sigh of relief. No untoward incident, major or otherwise, was reported from any part of Haryana and Punjab, even after the special CBI judge pronounced the sentence, awarding 20 years in prison to Ram Rahim in two rape cases. In Haryana, shell-shocked followers of the self-styled godman remained indoors and desisted from resorting to violence in any area of the state, including violence-hit Panchkula and Sirsa.

“We have issued shoot on sight orders if anyone tries to start a protest,” additional chief secretary, home, Ram Niwas, said. A multi-layer security cordon was thrown around the Sunaria district jail where the rape convict was lodged and sentence was pronounced. The authorities had imposed curfew in Sirsa, home to dear’s headquarters.

Sirsa remained peaceful baring a stray incident of a vehicle being set afire. IAS officer V Umashankar said: “Curfew may be eased soon.” In Yamunanagar and Karnal districts also, the situation was under control. Chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar also held an emergency meeting of top officials to review the security arrangements.

Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh, who reviewed the situation, said things were under control. The state government has also decided to restore the mobile data services from Tuesday and the decision on opening schools and colleges in the sensitive districts of the state has been left to deputy commissioners, said the chief minister after holding a high-level meeting with administrative and police officials. He later met the governor.

A car torched by unidentified people at Kotli village in Sirsa on Monday. (PTI)

35 PETROL BOMBS FOUND IN MALOUT

Malout police found 35 petrol bombs, 2kg of chilli powder and some sharp-edged weapons from four bags found during checking. Malout station house officer Boota Singh said the bags were lying abandoned. “A case has been registered, but there is no arrest so far. We are keeping an eye on activities of Dera followers,” he said. Curfew has been imposed in Malout following the recovery. Muktsar deputy commissioner Sumeet Jarangal said the situation was under control, making an appeal to Dera followers to respect the court verdict. Most commercial and other establishments remained shut Gidderbaha, Lambi and Muktsar due to the prevailing situation.

CURFEW RE-IMPOSED IN PATIALA

As a “precautionary measures”, curfew was re-imposed in Patiala district hours before the sentencing of the flamboyant godman. The restrictions will remain in force till 6am on Tuesday. Schools and colleges will also reopen after four days. The police took at least 65 dera followers suspected of disturbing law and order into preventive custody.

14 INVOLVED IN ARSON, VIOLENCE HELD IN KAITHAL

The district police arrested 14 people for their involvement in arson and violence in the district after conviction of dera head Ram Rahim on August 25. They were produced in a local court and sent to judicial custody. Also, eight motorcycles, two cans of petrol and chilli powder were recovered from them. The accused were arrested following interrogation of some other accused. They had allegedly damaged two petrol pumps in Cheeka on Friday.

NO UNTOWARD INCIDENT IN MALWA REGION

Uneasy calm prevailed in Malwa on the day of pronouncement of sentence against dera head. Though curfew was relaxed for some hours till afternoon, people preferred to remain indoors. Only a few vehicles were seen on roads during the period of relaxation. Curfew was imposed in Bathinda, Mansa, Muktsar, Moga, Fazilka and Ferozepur as a “precautionary measure” before the judge pronounced the jail term. In Bathinda, police and paramilitary forces conducted flag marches.

PATWARI BOOKED FOR DAMAGING PETROL PUMP

A patwari was booked for allegedly damaging a petrol pump in Chehal village of Kotkapura soon after the self-styled godman was convicted by the CBI court three days ago. Police have procured CCTV footage of unidentified miscreants vandalising the petrol pump. Dera follower Kaur Singh allegedly hatched the conspiracy and has been booked. A few vehicles were also damaged. The case was registered on the complaint of Chamkaur Singh Sekhon, owner of filling station. “Kaur Singh will be arrested soon. We are trying to ascertain the identity of other accused,” a police official said.

First Published: Aug 29, 2017 11:30 IST