More than 15,000 paramilitary personnel have been deployed in Punjab and Haryana ahead tomorrow’s verdict by a Panchkula court verdict in a sexual exploitation case against Dera Sacha Sauda sect chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, a Union Home Ministry official said today. 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, he said. One paramilitary company comprises over 100 personnel. Punjab and Haryana police forces are on high alert to deal with any law and order situation, the official said, referring to the court’s verdict tomorrow in a sexual exploitation case registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) against Gurmeet Singh. The case was registered in 2012 on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court after anonymous letters were circulated about the alleged sexual exploitation of two ‘sadhvis’ (female followers) by the Dera chief.
The central government has assured all possible help to the two state governments to deal with any situation as a large number of followers of the Dera chief have started arriving in Panchkula, Chandigarh and nearby areas, another the official, privy to the development, said. “We are in constant touch with the governments of Punjab and Haryana. We have given them adequate forces,” the official, who did not want to be identified, said. He said flag marches have been carried out by security forces in Panchkula, Sirsa, Hissar and some other places while several hospitals are also put on alert as a precautionary measure. The police forces are keeping a close watch on social media, particularly WhatsApp groups, Facebook and Twitter, and have asked people not to spread rumours, the official said.
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The special court in Panchkula has been hearing the case against Singh for the last few years and is scheduled to deliver the verdict tomorrow. While the alleged incident occurred in 1999, the FIR was lodged in 2002. The CBI investigated the matter against the sect head.
The Dera chief and the sect management have refuted all charges against him. He has large followers in Haryana and Punjab.