Army called in ahead of verdict on Dera chief

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 25 Aug 2017 07:52:06



Ram Rahim Singh said that he would appear in person before the special CBI court while appealing to his followers to maintain peace

AFTER a rap from the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the police on Thursday night started a massive exercise to evict over two lakh followers of Dera Sacha Sauda sect chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh from Panchkula and Chandigarh, ahead of Friday’s court verdict, even as the Army is to be deployed in Panchkula.

An estimated 1.5 lakh Dera followers including men, women and children have gathered in Panchkula, where a CBI court is set to deliver its verdict in a rape case against Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.
The Punjab and Haryana High Court had asked authorities as to how thousands of Dera followers had been allowed to gather at Panchkula.

Dera Sacha Sauda has a huge following in Punjab as well as Haryana and both the States are on a high alert. Mobile internet services have also been suspended for 72 hours in both the States and their joint capital Chandigarh while authorities are keeping a close watch on social media posts also, officials said. The authorities also restricted movement of trains and buses towards Panchkula.

What appeared to be some relief for a stretched administrative machinery, Ram Rahim Singh on late Thursday night made an appeal to his followers to go back to their homes.

Earlier in the day, the Dera chief had said that he would appear in person before the special CBI court while appealing to his followers to maintain peace. “I have always respected the law. Even though I am having a backache, still abiding by law. I have full faith in God,” he tweeted.
The Dera chief, however, has denied these charges.

In Panchkula near Chandigarh, thousands of Dera supporters, including women and elderly, arrived and were camping in parks and open spaces. More ‘premis’, as the Dera followers are known, were pouring in. To ensure there is no trouble, there was heavy police deployment as well. Dera followers have also been arriving in great numbers at the sect headquarters at Sirsa in Haryana. The Centre has rushed as many as 150 companies of paramilitary forces to Punjab and Haryana to assist the police forces in maintaining law and order, a senior Union home ministry official said. One paramilitary company comprises over 100 personnel.

“The Central Government has assured all possible help to the two state Governments in dealing with any situation as a large number of followers of the Dera chief have started arriving in Panchkula, Chandigarh and nearby areas,” said another Home Ministry official.