At least 32 people were killed and over 250 people were injured on Friday in Panchkula during protests after the ruling against Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. They were believed to be followers of the self-styled guru, many of them killed by gunfire.
Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh has been finally found guilty of raping two women. He was moved to a prison in Haryana’s Rohtak in a helicopter. Police arrested some 2,500 of the guru’s devotees after 200,000 flocked to Panchkula ahead of Friday’s verdict. Some smashed cars and set media vans alight, insisting he was innocent.
Today, Haryana Deputy Advocate General Gurdass Singh Salwara was sacked after a video showing him assist the Dera chief in carrying his luggage surfaced. He was accompanying Ram Rahim Singh, claiming to be his relative.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi condemned the violence and appealed for peace. He tweeted, “Instances of violence are deeply distressing. Strongly condemn violence urge everyone to maintain peace.”
But the court termed the Centre’s response to the violence “only a knee-jerk reaction”. “Why do you (the Centre) treat the region as colonies?” asked a full bench of acting chief justice SS Saron and justices Surya Kant and Avneesh Jhingan.
The Punjab and Haryana high court remarked that “the Prime Minister is of the nation and not the BJP”. The BJP government is criticized for “politically surrendering” to the Dera Sacha Sauda.
The Kurukshetra police today sealed nine congregation centres of the Dera Sacha Sauda in the district. Followers have been evicted and over 2500 lathis have been seized along with other sharp-edged weapons during a search operation there. The entire property of the organization led by the self-styled leader should be attached for the damage they caused to public property, the court had said.
Police with the help of army sealed five congregation centres and a prayer centre in Kaithal. They recovered about 200 litres of petrol, sharp-edged weapons, sticks and empty bottles. The police also sealed 10 congregation centres in Karnal.
In Panipat, police took control of nine congregation centres and recovered stones and sharp weapons from there. Two people were detained. In Mansa, a police team led by additional director general of police, special task force (STF), Harpreet Sidhu searched various Dera centres in the district, where section 144 has been clamped, prohibiting the gathering of more than four people.
After seeing the violence that prevailed, needed steps are being taken for his sentencing on Monday when the quantum of his punishment will be decided. “The sentencing will either be done through video conferencing or, if required, the court will be held there (Rohtak prison),” the state police chief was quoted as saying, adding that the judge Jagdeep Singh may be taken there.
As decided now, CBI court judge Jagdeep Singh, who on Friday pronounced Ram Rahim guilty, will be flown to the Sunaria jail in a helicopter and set up his makeshift court there. The punishment can be a jail term not less than ten years but may even extend to life imprisonment.