Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh gear up for court verdict in case against dera head Gurmit Ram Rahim


Imposition of prohibitory orders and holding of flag marches were among the steps taken by the governments of Punjab, Haryana and UT Chandigarh ahead of the court judgement in a sexual exploitation case against Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmit Ram Rahim Singh on August 25.

Apprehending law and order problems, senior police and administrative officers of Haryana, Punjab and UT Chandigarh today held confabulations to take stock of the security arrangements, officials said.

“Section 144 (which bars gathering of more than 4 persons at a place) has been imposed in all the districts of Haryana,” the states Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Ram Niwas said here while briefing about the security arrangements.
He further said that carrying of any kind of stick or weapon has also been prohibited at Naam Charcha Ghar of Dera followers, amid reports that premis (dera followers) had started descending at different places including Panchkula and Ambala.

The Home Department of Chandigarh UT today decided to declare the cricket stadium in sector 16 as temporary jail on August 25, the day the special CBI court is to pronounce the verdict in the case against Gurmit Ram Rahim Singh.

Officials said the temporary jail can be used to confine people suspected of creating law and order problem. Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar also held parleys with top police and administrative brass.

The Haryana government has also requested the Centre to provide 115 companies of paramilitary forces, Niwas said. Duty magistrates have been deployed at all locations, Niwas said, adding that additional duty magistrates were deployed in some districts.

While Punjab had already received 75 companies of central forces, Haryana got 35 companies to maintain security.

Police along with paramilitary forces like the Rapid Action Force (RAF) and SSB, held flag marches at vulnerable places including Moga, Bathinda, Sangrur, Barnala, Patiala, Ludhaina, Panchkula, Sirsa, Fatehabad, Ambala, Hisar, officials said.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh warned against any attempt to disrupt the states law and order in view of the upcoming judgement by the Panchkula court.

“All steps are being taken to ensure that law and order is not disturbed in any way in the wake of the court order,” he said.

Punjab DGP Suresh Arora personally visited the sensitive areas and put fool-proof security network in place to prevent any untoward incident, officials said.

The sexual exploitation case was registered against the head of the sect, which is based in Sirsa in Haryana, in 2002 by the CBI on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court after anonymous letters were circulated about the alleged exploitation of two Sadhvis (female followers) by Gurmeet Ram Rahim.

The Dera Chief has denied these charges. Ram Rahim has also had a run-in earlier with Sikh radicals for allegedly dressing up as the 10th Sikh master, Guru Gobind Singh, in 2007 among other instances considered blasphemous by a section of the community.


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