Taking strong exception to the violence by Dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim’s supporters following verdict against him in the rape case, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Friday ruled that the losses caused to property due to violence and arson ill be recovered from Dera Sacha Sauda, according to a senior government lawyer. At least 28 people were killed and over 250 injured in the violence.
The full bench of the High Court also directed the Haryana government to use weapon or force, if required, to tackle the situation arising out of the CBI court verdict against the Dera chief. The bench will hear the matter further tomorrow, Additional Solicitor General of India Satya Pal Jain said.
The full bench comprising acting Chief Justice S Singh Saron, Justice Avneesh Jhingan and Justice Surya Kant was hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by a Panchkula resident raising law and order concerns as over 1.5 lakh people have reportedly entered the district despite prohibitory orders.
The court ordered that “in case people indulge in causing loss to the properties, the process will be videographed and total loss will be recovered from the dera,” Jain said.
The bench directed the authorities in Punjab, Haryana and UT Chandigarh to maintain law and order at any cost. The court ordered that no political leader, including a minister, will interfere in the working of officers in handling the situation arising out of the verdict.
The court also directed that no political, social or religious leader will issue any provocative statement and that FIR would be registered in case it was done by anyone. “Officers dealing with the situation will perform their job without fear and favour. In case any officer is found wanting in performing duty, strict action will be taken by the court,” the bench ordered, according to Jain.
The bench asked the Dera Sacha Sauda lawyer S K Garg Narwana to convey to the sect followers not to indulge in any violence or breach of peace. “In case anybody indulges in violence or breach of peace, the Haryana government can take stern action against them,” the bench said.
(With PTI inputs)