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.