Panchkula violence: Six Dera followers acquittedhttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/panchkula-violence-six-dera-followers-acquitted-gurmeet-ram-rahim-5283923/

Panchkula violence: Six Dera followers acquitted

It was the second FIR against the six in which they were all acquitted by the trial court. They were charged in connection with the damage to the building of Haryana Consumer Redressal Forum in Sector 4 on August 25, 2017.

Panchkula violence: Six Dera followers acquitted
Dera followers led violent protests in Panchkula after the arrest of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh last year. (Express photo: Kamleshwar Singh)

Six Dera followers, arrested for indulging in violence that broke out minutes after the conviction of Dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim on August 25 last year, were acquitted of charges of rioting, arson and damaging public property on Monday.

The acquittal was pronounced in connection with FIR number 362 registered at Sector 5 Police Station by Additional District and Sessions Judge Ritu Tagore. Those acquitted were Ram Kishan (55) of Karnal, Gani Ram (50) of Jind, Ravi Kumar (22) of Muktsar, Sanga Singh (38) of Sangrur, Hoshiar Singh (48) of Kaithal and Tarsem Singh (39) of Sangrur.

It was the second FIR against the six in which they were all acquitted by the trial court. They were charged in connection with the damage to the building of Haryana Consumer Redressal Forum in Sector 4 on August 25, 2017.

Earlier, they were acquitted in connection with FIR 415, which was registered in connection with the damage of a video camera belonging to a mediaperson also on the day of the Dera violence on August 25. This FIR was registered at Sector 5 PS, too.

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The counsel for the six men, Advocate Ritu Nagra, said, “It is the second FIR in which all six people were acquitted. Prosecution failed to submit credible evidence, including CCTV footage, supportive statements of witnesses, which can establish the involvement of suspects in the offence. We are yet to get a copy of the judgment of the acquittal. Earlier, these six men were acquitted in connection with FIR number-415 by the trial court on May 1. In FIR 415, these six were accused of damaging a video camera of a mediaperson, Harpreet Singh. During the trial, all the witnesses, including the complainant and two private security guards, failed to identify the suspects.”

Advocate Ritu Nagra further stated, “The six men are also accused in six other FIRs registered by Panchkula police at Sector 5 PS in connection with the damage of public properties on August 25. The trial in six FIRs is on.”

One of the public prosecutors, who is representing the state in Dera violence, requesting anonymity, said, “We will review the detailed judgment and decide further course of action. The police had completed the investigation following all the legal procedures. A chargesheet was filed within 90 days. Police had attached all the supportive evidences in the chargesheet against the six men.”

Panchkula Commissioner of Police Charu Bali said, “Indeed, all the six men were acquitted as the trial court found evidences were insufficient to prove the criminal charges against them. The Haryana Police SIT had collected sufficient evidence against the six men but the yardsticks of police and the trial court are different to establish the act of the suspects. From our point of view, we had collected credible evidences against them. We will review the detailed judgment of acquittal.”