Mobile internet services will remain suspended in Haryana and Punjab till Tuesday, besides internet lease lines on the premises of the Dera Sacha Sauda headquarters at Sirsa have also been suspended for the said period, officials said today. The authorities had earlier suspended the services to prevent rumours from being spread, ahead of the court verdict against Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, who was convicted by a CBI court in Panchkula on Friday in a 15- year-old rape case. Now, the ban has been extended till Tuesday to prevent any disturbance of peace and public order in view of the quantum of punishment to be pronounced against the Dera chief in Rohtak tomorrow, officials said. Mobile internet services, which were suspended for 72 hours in Haryana, ahead of Friday’s court verdict, would continue to remain suspended in the state till 11.30 am on Tuesday, they added. Besides, all educational institutions in Panchkula, Rohtak, Kaithal, Ambala, Bhiwani and Fatehabad districts will remain closed tomorrow, the officials said. Mobile internet services, which were suspended in Punjab three days back, would also remain suspended till Tuesday, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had announced yesterday.
The Haryana government said today it had extended the period of suspension of mobile internet services, including 2G, 3G, 4G, CDMA and GPRS, all SMS and dongle services provided on mobile networks, except voice calls, in the state till 11.30 am on August 29. “Besides, the internet lease lines on the premises of the Dera Sacha Sauda, Sirsa have been suspended till August 29. Any person found guilty of violating these orders would be liable to face legal action,” Additional Chief Secretary, Home Department, Ram Niwas, said here.
He added that the orders had been issued under the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017. “The orders have been issued considering the critical law-and-order situation, to maintain peace and communal harmony in the state and prevent any loss of life or further damage to property. It has been reported by the IG, CID that the situation is tense and violence may continue for several days, especially on August 28, when the quantum of punishment (against the Dera chief) will be announced,” an official release quoted Niwas as saying.
He added that it had been reported by the Deputy Commissioner and Superintendent of Police, Sirsa that the devotees might attempt to breach peace and tranquillity and resort to arson, leading to damage of properties. “Since the environment is tense, rumours of different kinds may be spread through broadband and internet lease lines on the premises of the Dera Sacha Sauda,” Niwas said.
Directions had also been issued to the telecom service providers and those providing the internet lease lines on the premises of the Dera Sacha Sauda, Sirsa to ensure compliance of these orders, he added. Thirty-six people died in violence in Panchkula and Sirsa after the Dera Sacha Sauda chief’s conviction on Friday. Punjab and Haryana have been on a high alert with curfew imposed at many sensitive areas of the two states. The CBI court will pronounce the quantum of sentence in the rape case against Gurmeet in Rohtak tomorrow.