The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday rapped the Haryana government over the security arrangements in the state in the wake of the verdict on the 15-year-old rape case against the Dera Sacha Sauda Chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, tomorrow. The court told the state government that it doesn’t want a Jat agitation like the situation in Haryana and asked the Centre to deploy additional forces.
The court also pulled up the Haryana government for not applying the right clauses of section 144. “Why was assembly not prohibited,” said the court, adding “proper order under section 144 could have debarred the assembly of people”. Earlier, Section 144 was imposed across Chandigarh as more than 50,000 of Ram Rahim’s followers congregated at Naam Charcha Ghar in Panchkula area.
The Central Government has, on its part, assured that a necessary action would be taken to curb any agitation. More than 15,000 paramilitary personnel have been deployed in Punjab and Haryana ahead of tomorrow’s verdict. As many as 150 companies of paramilitary forces have been deployed in the two states to assist the police forces in maintaining law and order, a Union Home Ministry official said. In addition to it, the security has been tightened in Sirsa district as Dera followers gathered on Court Road.
Meanwhile, the internet and train services in both states have been suspended for 72 hours in Chandigarh. The development comes after the state governments wrote a letter to the Railway Ministry to cancel 12 passenger trains coming towards Chandigarh. Moreover, 22 trains have been cancelled in Haryana alone. In addition to this, Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) has suspended 150 bus routes to the neighbouring states from today midnight till tomorrow.
The Godman was accused with rape charges of a female devotee in 1999. The CBI took over the investigation in 2002. On August 17, the special CBI court of Panchkula concluded the hearing in the case, but reserved pronouncing the verdict for August 25. The case was registered by the CBI in 2002 against the self-styled godman after allegations of sexual exploitation of two women followers through anonymous letters. The hearing has been going on since 2007.
(With inputs from agencies)