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Ram Rahim Singh convicted: Death toll rises to 36, says Haryana DGP; top developments

Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh convicted: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh chaired a high-level meeting today to review the security situation in the country, particularly Haryana, and was told that the situation in the state was under control, officials said.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: August 26, 2017 8:37:28 pm
Charred vehicles lying on a road which were torched during violence triggered by the conviction of Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in a rape case. PTI Photo

A day after Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was taken into custody following his rape conviction by a special CBI court in Panchkula district of Haryana, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday chaired a high-level meeting at his residence to review the security situation in the country, particularly Haryana. The meeting was attended by National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval, Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi, Intelligence Bureau (IB) chief Rajiv Jain and chiefs of paramilitary personnel along with several other Home Minister Officials. At the review meeting, Singh was told by officials that the state was under control.

In a statement, the home ministry said the home minister reviewed the internal security and law and order situation in the country in general and in Haryana and adjoining areas and Jammu and Kashmir in particular.

The self-styled godman was arrested on Friday after being convicted in a 15-year-old rape case and has been living in custody just like an ordinary prisoner in Rohtak’s Sunaria jail, claims Haryana DGP (Jails) KP Singh on Saturday. He said no special treatment was being extended to the self-styled godman, and he is under constant monitoring by four officials who were put on duty near his barrack in the jail.

LIVE updates| It was a predicted violence, fault was in allowing people to gather in Panchkula: Punjab CM

“No special treatment is being given to him. He is being treated like any other ordinary prisoner. An ordinary prisoner sleeps on the floor and he, too, is doing the same,” Singh added.

View of a damaged govt office building in Sector 2 of Panchkula after clashes in the districts after Ram Rahim rape verdict. Express Photo by Kamleshwar Singh

On Friday, after the CBI court in Panchkula convicted the Dera chief in a 2002 rape case, widespread violence erupted in Panchkula district that left at least 32 dead and more than 250 people injured in the clashes. Violence also spread to several other parts of Haryana, Punjab, Delhi, Noida and Ghaziabad with empty buses and train coaches set on fire allegedly by Dera supporters that led to Section 144  being imposed in parts of Haryana and Delhi.

Here are the top developments today, a day after Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was taken into custody:

* The BJP today ruled out the removal of Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, who is under attack for the violence by followers of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh following his conviction in a rape case.

* Haryana government today suspended the Deputy Commissioner of Police of Panchkula, alleging that a “defective” order by him allowed the crowd build-up in the district.

The death toll in Haryana has risen to 36, of which 28 were in Panchkula alone after Dera Sacha Sauda followers went on a rampage following the conviction of their sect chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in Panchkula district.

Arrested dera followers being taken to Ambala Jail from sector-5 police station in Panchkula after their arrest during clash, August 26 2017. Express photo by Jaipal Singh

Army General Officer Commanding(GOC), 33 Armoured Division, Rajpal Punia today said that the army has no immediate plan of entering Dera Sacha Sauda sect headquarters in Sirsa and that they are focusing mainly on maintaining law and order in the wake of violence triggered by the rape conviction of sect head Gurmeet Ram

* The Army along with the police and paramilitary forces have put up barricades at entry points of the Dera premises, where tens of thousands of Dera followers, including women and children, stayed put despite an appeal by authorities to leave.

Police at one of the dera of Ram Rahim in Mansa.Express Photo by Gurmeet Singh

The Kurukshetra Police sealed nine congregation centres of the Dera Sacha Sauda in the district, evicting the followers, and seized over 2,500 lathis and other sharp-edged weapons during a search operation there.

Police have detained 15 Dera Sacha Sauda followers since Friday night in Sirsa, even as the authorities have appealed to over one lakh supporters still present in the sect headquarters to vacate the premises.

* The situation in Haryana was assessed at present to be under control, though it is being carefully monitored. Home Minister Rajnath Singh took note of the assurance of DGP, Haryana that law and order situation in Haryana would be kept in control.

Media vehicles damaged during violence by the huge mass of Dera Sacha Sauda supporters gathered in Panchkula after CBI court pronounced Gurmeet Ran Rahim Singh guilty in a 2002 rape case. Express photo by Jasbir Malhi

*Rajasthan police arrested five persons in Rajasthan’s Sriganganagar district where miscreants torched government buildings on Friday following the conviction of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim in a rape case.

A large number of passengers, including pilgrims returning from the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine, were
stranded as authorities decided to suspend train and interstate bus services, as a precautionary measure, following violence in Haryana and Punjab by the supporters of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.

* Kaithal police seized objectionable objects like axes, batons, petrol bombs etc during a search operation. Dera in Kaithal has been completely vacated following the conviction of the self- styled godman in Panchkula.

Police personnel looking at remaining of the burning vehicles after violence by the huge mass of Dera Sacha Sauda supporters gathered in Panchkula. Express photo by Jasbir Malhi

* Addressing the media, Punjab CM Amarinder Singh said, “I will not allow violence of any form from any sect in Punjab. The fault was in allowing people to gather in Panchkula when the verdict was coming; should have known that there could be a problem.”

* The Punjab and Haryana High Court today castigated the state government holding it squarely responsible for the violence that erupted in Panchkula on Friday eventually leading to the death of 31 people.

* The Congress today demanded imposition of president’s rule in Haryana and sacking of the M L Khattar government even as it accused both the state and the Centre of being “mute spectators” to arson and violence after the court verdict against Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.

With PTI Inputs

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