At least 30 people were killed and more than 250 injured in violence in Haryana’s Panchkula city after a CBI court convicted Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in a 2002 rape case. The quantum of sentence against him will be pronounced on August 28. Once the news of his conviction was out, thousands of his supporters who had gathered outside the Panchkula court premises, went on a rampage, damaging vehicles, pulling down security barriers, attacking media persons, OB vans and public property.
In view of the violence and loss of lives, section 144 was imposed in several areas of Punjab and Haryana, as also most parts of Delhi and Noida.
Here are the areas where Section 144 and prohibitory orders have been imposed:
Ghaziabad, Noida and Delhi
A high alert has been sounded and prohibitory orders clamped in Ghaziabad and Noida in wake of the widespread violence in Haryana. Ghaziabad District Magistrate Ministhy S told PTI: “Orders have also been issued to keep all schools and colleges in the district closed tomorrow in view of the violence.”
The police said they were keeping tab on the situation in Ghaziabad and the supporters of Dera Sacha Sauda were being kept under surveillance.
“Thousands of followers of Baba Ram Rahim live in a camp in Nang Gram and Karhera. We are patrolling both the areas to make sure no untoward incident takes place,” said Ghaziabad SSP, HN Singh.
Singh said the police had found a burnt out bus in Loni, but couldn’t ascertain whether it was in any way connected to the violence in Panchkula.
High alert was also sounded in Noida where the prohibitory orders, under section 144 of the CrPC, were already in place, since July 27, in view of a series of festivals. “The district administration is ready to deal with any situation. We have identified all the places of the district that border either Uttar Pradesh or Haryana. All the roads connecting Noida with these two states are being watched closely,” Noida District Magistrate, BN Singh said. Section 144 prohibits assembly of five or more people from assembling in one place.
The police imposed prohibitory orders on most parts of Delhi today in the wake of violence in the city and in neighbouring Haryana over the conviction of self-styled godman Guru Ram Rahim in a rape case. The prohibitory orders would be in force till September 8, a senior police officer told PTI. Section 144 CrPC imposed in all district of Delhi, except Central district and North district, said DCP Delhi Police Madhur Verma on Twitter. Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) of 1973 empowers an executive magistrate to prohibit an assembly of more than four people in an area. The national capital has 13 police districts. North and central districts will not fall under the ambit of the orders, since no incidents were reported from there, the officer said.
UP’s Muzaffarnagar, Baghpat
Section 144 has also been imposed in Uttar Pradesh’s Muzaffarnagar and Baghpat, in view of violent protests in Punjab and Haryana.
Section 144 was imposed across Chandigarh as more than 50,000 of Ram Rahim’s followers congregated at Naam Charcha Ghar in Panchkula area even before the verdict. The Dera followers made it to Panchkula over the past three days despite prohibitory orders under CrPC Section 144
being in force. A senior police official told PTI that restrictions regarding carrying of weapons was earlier imposed under Section 144, which was later on amended and a provision invoked banning assembly of five or more persons.
Nainital in Uttarakhand
Section 144 imposed has also been imposed in Uttarakhand’s Nainital.