Ahead of the verdict in a murder case against Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim, at least 2,000 security personnel, including Haryana Police and paramilitary forces, were deployed in Panchkula. Several roads were barricaded as the district administration braced for a possible clash in case the verdict against Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh goes against him. Police personnel were deployed throughout the city even as they restricted the entry to the Sector 1 district courts and also blocked three out of four entry points.
At least 500 security personnel have been assigned to be around the district courts alone. Traffic movement was blocked on all arterial roads, including Chandigarh-Old Panchkula link road to NH-22, which also leads to Sector 1 and the district courts. The state government has in the meantime imposed Section 144 of CrPC in all districts. The ultimate aim to prevent Dera followers from assembling at the district court complex, where the special CBI court is scheduled to pronounce the verdict on Friday. Also Read: Ram Rahim Rape case verdict: Haryana, Punjab on alert ahead of judgment
While thousands of Gurmeet Ram Rahim’s followers have already assembled in various parts of Panchkula, the self-styled godman has to attend this final hearing. The police also passed instructions to owners of fuel stations not to sell petrol and diesel in bottles and drums to people. In a statement to ANI, Tajinder Luthra, DGP, said: “We know the locations of Dera followers, have told them there should be no untoward incidents.” Also Read: Dera followers flood Panchkula, over 2,000 security personnel deployed
Supporters storing petrol bombs
The office of DGP (Law and Order) has issued an alert to all district police chiefs saying: “It has come to the notice that Dera Sacha Sauda Sirsa premis have started storing petrol, diesel in drums at Naam Charcha Ghars in district Faridkot. They have stored sharp-edged weapons and stones on the roof of Naam Charcha Ghars.”
The letter further stated that post the verdict on Friday, Gurmeet Ram Rahim’s supporters could use petrol and weapons to harm/destroy the government/public properties. “You are therefore directed to deploy sufficient manpower and to make adequate law and order arrangements to ensure that all necessary steps including preventive and precautionary are taken so as to ensure nothing untoward takes place,” it says. “We are in touch with suppliers of petrol, diesel and other inflammable material and have asked them to inform us in case bulk purchases of such materials are made,” said Patiala Zone Inspector General A S Rai.
Nam Charcha Ghar of Dera witnesses frantic activity
A Dera follower told the Indian Express that Gurmeet Ram Rahim’s followers have arrived in the last two days and staying at Nam Charcha Ghar. “Dera followers from Chandigarh, Nayagaon and nearby villages visit the Nam Charcha Ghar. Some followers have arrived in the last two days and staying here. We will do whatever the Dera management asks us to,” said Rulda Singh, a Dera follower. Singh also said the Dera management had ordered them to remain peaceful and they were following the instructions.
When asked about the security cover around the Nam Charcha Ghar, Singh said Punjab and Chandigarh Police visited them. “We did not see any danger, so we did not ask for security cover. Police parties of Chandigarh and Mohali patrol the area throughout day and night,” he told Chandigarh Newsline. Rulda Singh said that some of the Dera followers living in Nayagaon area were approached by the local police three days ago and were asked to give the details of their visitors.
Meanwhile, several police teams carried out checks in various guesthouses, hotels, and lodges in and around these areas and told all the hotel owners to provide the identity of all their customers and visitors. Police is also keeping a close tab on the activities of the Dera followers. While the police force has been deployed in the entire district, special focus is being given to Derabassi and Zirakpur side as both the towns border Haryana.
Hospitals out on alert
Officials said that hospitals across the Tricity have been put on alert for the next few days. Officials from the Haryana health department said they had decided to depute additional staff in Panchkula civil hospital, while the Chandigarh and Mohali authorities maintain hospitals have been put on alert for the next few days. Also Read: Tricity hospitals on alert, additional doctors to be deputed in Panchkula
Panchkula Civil Surgeon V K Bansal told Chandiagrh Newsline: “We are geared up to deal with any situation. The staff at civil hospital is on high alert and additional doctors will be deputed on August 24 and 25,” adding that they have kept rooms reserved in ICU and other areas. Bansal also said that the department has brought at least 10 ambulances from different districts and deployed in Panchkula.
Haryana, Punjab on alert ahead of court verdict in a case against Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh
Commenting on whether Gurmeet ram Rahim will appear before the court on Friday for the verdict, a spokesperson of Dera Sacha Sauda said the sect and its head has always followed law and will do so in future also. In a statement to the Indian Express, he said: “We have always followed due process of law, never have we gone out of law’s purview and never ever will we do so.”
When asked if Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh will appeal to his followers to help maintain law and order and peace, he said, “during his Satsangs (at sect head in Sirsa) in mornings and evenings, Guru ji always talks about humanity and things which will benefit humanity. He talks about tree plantation, organ donations, blood donation and helping out weaker sections”.
Gurmeet Ram Rahim tweets message of ‘selfless service, meditation’
Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh today took to Twitter to give a message of “selfless service and meditation” to his followers, many of whom are flocking in Panchkula ahead of Friday’s court verdict in a sexual exploitation case against him. “Selfless service, meditation and firm belief are the ornaments in spirituality,” he said in a tweet and also shared a link to a Facebook video of one of his discourses.
In the meantime, the Haryana government has also notified that August 24, 25 would be gazetted holidays in government offices and educational institutions.