BLOODSTAINS, ABANDONED slippers and sticks are still lying in residential areas of Sector 2 and Sector 4 and proving to be gruesome reminders of the violent aftermath of the Ram Rahim conviction that many residents witnessed first hand on August 25. The sound of gunshots and the roar of the supporters is still echoing in the ears of residents who witnessed the terror from the window of their house. Residents said that August 25 would go down as a black day in the history of Panchkula.
After hearing the verdict, the Dera supporters entered the residential belt from the dividing road of Sector 2 and 4, where they were fired on by the police. There are bloodstains on the road outside the house of Meenakshi Gupta, a resident of house number 589 in Sector 2, where a protester fell after getting injured in police firing. She said her children shrank to a corner of the house when they heard the gunshots, and are still afraid to leave the house.
“Though I have washed the front area of my house to remove the blood, the stains remain on the road. When the police fired, one man fell down near my house but two of his friends dragged him along with them to another place. There are bloodstains all over the road and people still haven’t come out of the shock of witnessing all that,” said Gupta talking to Chandigarh Newsline.Gupta said that they saw the violence unfolding from the first floor of the house.
A student of standard VII, Bhavya Garg, remains terrified by the memory of witnessing a man being shot outside her house. She along with her family had locked themselves on the second floor of the three-storey house in Sector 4. Ashwini Garg, her father, said that the family had to face some horrendous moments when the followers jumped his locked gate and even came upto the second floor of the house through the stairs, where the family was. “They started banging on our door…asking us to open. It was a horrible experience. The police force came and removed them from there. It was the first experience for all of us in a place like Panchkula,” said Ashwini Garg. Later, the family saw people being shot at.
Sensing that it would turn violent, many families left Panchkula before the verdict. “I went to Baddi to stay at my relatives’ place and came back only this evening. I knew this all would happen,” said Vishal Sharma, a resident of Sector 19. Dr S K Chhabra, president of Sector 7 Residents Welfare Association, went to his brother’s place in Chandigarh. “My family went for two days to my brother’s place. I also have my clinic there,” said Chhabra.
Those who stayed back had their sectors secured with barbed wire, barricades and locked gates, but they remained in fear of mobs entering the residential areas.