A Panchkula court on Saturday quashed the charge of ‘waging war against the Indian government’ against Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim’s aide Priyanka Taneja alias Honeypreet and 44 others in connection with the violence that left 41 people dead and scores injured.
The Sessions Court dropped the charges under IPC Section 121. “The charge has been dropped due to lack of evidence. The charges which have been framed against the 45 accused include Sections 145 (joining or continuing in unlawful assembly, knowing it has been commanded to disperse), 146 (rioting), 150 (iring or conniving at hiring, of persons to join unlawful assembly), 152 (assaulting or obstructing public servant when suppressing riot, etc.), 153 (wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of IPC. The next date of hearing is November 06 before a CJM Court,” said advocate Suresh Kumar Rohilla, who represents some of the accused in the case.
At least 35 people had died in Panchkula and six in Sirsa after the Dera followers went on rampage on August 25, 2017, after Ram Rahim was found guilty of raping his disciples by a Special CBI Court.
The police had claimed that the Dera followers had been even instructed to “not hesitate in waging war against the State” while attempting to rescue the Dera Chief from the custody of the police at Panchkula Court Complex.
Reports also suggest that Honeypreet allegedly “gave a signal to (the crowds) to instigate violence” after Ram Rahim’s conviction. The police then slapped sedition charges against her for allegedly plotting Ram Rahim’s ‘escape’ bid from the court.
A lookout notice had been issued against her and she was finally arrested by the Haryana Police on October 3 that year.