Army standby in Punjub and Haryana.jpeg
India

Army On Standby In Punjab And Haryana: Ram Rahim Sing Case

Both Punjab and Haryana have asked the Army to be on standby ahead of the CBI court’s verdict in a rape case against head of Dera Sacha Sauda, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. This is in addition to central paramilitary forces and state police being deployed in various districts of Punjab and Haryana which have a large presence of dera followers.


Some 1.5 lakh dera ‘premis’, as the followers are known, have left their homes in Punjab, Haryana, Delhi and Rajasthan and descended on Panchkula where the CBI court is situated. Not wanting any violence at key installations, Chandigarh police has sealed all entry points of the city till Friday evening.

Punjab DGP (law and order) H S Dhillon told TOI, “The Centre allotted 10 BSF companies on Wednesday . We have asked the Army to be on standby. Deputy commissioners in sensitive districts have imposed restrictions on the number of people gathering at one place.”

Punjab DGP Suresh Arora on Wednesday interacted with paramilitary and district police forces in Ferozepur, Muktsar, Sangrur, Patiala and Ludhiana which have a large presence of dera premis. A petition was filed before the Punjab and Haryana high court on Wednesday to ensure adequate security arrangements, especially in Panchkula and surrounding areas, in view of the pronouncement of court order in a rape case involving Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.

The petition, filed by Panchkula resident Ravinder Singh Dhull, seeks directions for monitoring the security arrangements by the high court as despite prohibitory orders under Section 144 of Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), more than 1.5 lakh people had already entered Panchkula district by Wednesday .

The petitioner has also attached the photographs of dera followers squatting on the roads of Panchkula city and several circulars issued by Punjab and Haryana government highlighting the volatile situation.

The circulars include the conversion of several places as jail and presence of offensive items inside the dera. The petition was mentioned for hearing before the division bench of Justice AK Mittal, which adjourned it for Thursday. The matter would now heard by a division bench of Justice SS Saron on Thursday. Seeking urgent judicial intervention in the matter of grave public importance, the petitioner submitted that Haryana and Punjab were facing immense and acute security threat due to expected pronouncement in the criminal trial of Gurmeet Singh on August 25.
The dera head has been asked to appear in person before special CBI judge Jagdeep Singh at the time of pronouncement of the order. “It has escalated the security concerns at the extreme level and Union home ministry is in direct touch with the home secretaries, DGPs of the states of Haryana and Punjab. The dera head claimed to have more than 60 lakh followers in both states. Earlier also during several controversies of the dera, law and order situation had derailed and large scale property damage cases was reported,” the petitioner has stated.
He further stated that this time the threat was imminent, as a large number of dera followers have started coming and camping in the Nam Charcha Ghar (place for congregation) situated in Sector 23, Panchkula, which was just around 2-3km away from the court complex.
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