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Ram Rahim convicted: When Haryana cops fled Hafed Chowk, their duty

When questioned, the cops said they were waiting for orders. By the time the orders came, it was too late.

punjab Updated: Aug 26, 2017 10:48 IST
Tanbir Dhaliwal
Tanbir Dhaliwal
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Ram Rahim,Baba Ram Rahim,Dera Sacha Sauda news
Outnumbered, the cops let dera followers run amok at the Hafed Chowk that divides Sectors 2 and 5 in Panchkula. (Ravi Kumar/HT)

Haryana Police turned their tail and ran for cover the moment, Dera Sacha Sauda followers started pelting stones on them at Hafed Chowk, that divides Sectors 2 and 5, Panchkula, after the decision that the dera chief had been convicted became known. The cost was heavy loss of life and property in Panchkula.

The police could have prevented the violence had they dispersed the crowd immediately after the verdict , those present at the spot said. Later, when the crowd turned into a mob, they let them destroy OB vans, cars and scooters.

When questioned, the cops said they were waiting for orders. By the time the orders came, it was too late.

Claims just false bravado

Hours before violence broke out, Haryana DGP BS Sandhu had assured the media. “Have faith in us, everything is under control. We are ready to deal with any situation.

About 2.25pm, there were cheers from followers gathered at the Hafed Chowk . There was clapping, dancing and shouting in joy. For once, one thought that verdict had come in their favour, but they were celebrating the arrival of their guru.

How it happened

Till 3pm: One could hear a pin drop on the Hafed Chowk, Panchkula, as thousands of Dera followers sat quietly. Haryana Police and paramilitary personnel had them surrounded from three sides.

3 pm: Dera spokesperson Aditya Insaan was addressing the media. He left the venue when told of the conviction, saying that he will have to confirm the news.

Till 3.15pm: The crowd kept waiting in silence, as if waiting for a signal from their leaders.

3.20pm: Men turned their backs for a while, as if planning their next move. Within a few minutes, the crowd turned into a mob. Slogans were raised and within minutes, five to six OB vans were vandalised. Stone-pelting started.

3.36pm: Police use tear gas, water cannons and lathi-charge; the crowd does not disperse

3.43pm: The majority of police personnel, along with members of the media, ran for their life. With the mob not contained at the Chowk itself, it succeeded in burning public property. A fire-brigade and some government buildings were set on fire. Unrestrained mob rule and violence continues for two hours.

At 5.40pm: Army is seen sealing the area.

First Published: Aug 26, 2017 10:48 IST