Leaders from various political parties welcomed the 20 years rigorous imprisonment given to Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in two rape cases by a special CBI court on Monday. However, some of the opposition leaders also targeted the Khattar government for the violence after his conviction on Friday. The August 25 order had led to widespread violence in Punjab, Haryana, parts of Uttar Pradesh and even Delhi leading to the deaths of more than 30 people.
Here is what the political leaders said:
Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi: We have seen this callous insensitivity, coupled with the mulish obstinacy in the face of the most unprecedented structures in the high court of the state. In any responsible sensitive form of governance, comments, not strictures of far less severity than we have heard in Haryana would have led to apologies, resignations and complete unconditional acceptance. Here it has had the opposite effect, that’s the interesting part of it. Because of worldwide condemnation, because of the high court strictures, because of our comments calling for the resignation, the reverse has happened, there is a hardening of positions.
BJP leader Subramanian Swamy: I think it is a major victory after the triple talaq verdict and is a message for women’s safety. Ultimately he public reaction was so strong that the government also had to move in. We want to demonstrate that no matter how high you are the law is above you and we have seen the victory of the law both in sessions court and in the HC. Now let him appeal and I don’t think he will get any relief, he has to serve 10 years.
CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury: It is strange that despite the high court’s directions, no stringent measures were taken to ensure there was no violence.
CPI national secretary D Raja: The law has taken its course. It is a verdict on the charges of serious nature. One should respect the verdict. Somebody must be held responsible for the violence which preceded the verdict. Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar should have resigned by this time. His position has become untenable and he must quit.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh: There is nothing for us to say other than asking people to maintain peace. There is a curfew in one or two places in Punjab and we have left it to the district administration to decide in a day or two when the time is right to lift the curfew.
Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar, and others also commented on the violence that followed his conviction.
Narendra Modi: The instances of violence today are deeply distressing. I strongly condemn the violence and urge everyone to maintain peace. The law and order situation is being closely monitored. I reviewed the situation with the NSA and Home Secretary. Urged officials to work round the clock to restore normalcy and provide all possible assistance that is required.
Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar: The situation is being monitored extensively, strict action will be taken against those who try to disrupt peace. Vehicles burnt, media OB vans torched; action will be taken against those who took law in their hands. Haryana Government had made complete arrangements; the mob was really huge..
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh: I appeal to everyone, particularly his supporters, to maintain peace. Any harm to life and property due to this unrest cannot be compensated by any amount of money. I have also spoken to chief ministers of Haryana and Punjab (Manohar Lal Khattar and Amarinder Singh respectively), and they briefed me about the current situation and the steps taken to restore normalcy.
With PTI inputs