An uneasy calm prevailed today in Haryana and Punjab where curfew was relaxed at some places that were hit by violence in the aftermath of the conviction of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in a rape case. There was no report of any violence in Haryana since yesterday even as security forces remained on alert. Relaxation in curfew was being given at various places where it had been clamped earlier, officials said.
In Sirsa, the district administration this morning relaxed the curfew for five hours in and around Dera Sacha Sauda headquarters here, after restrictions were imposed on August 24. Rail service from Delhi to Katra via Ambala have been resumed, Haryana DGP B S Sandhu said, adding peace prevails in the state. Punjab was also peaceful and no untoward incident had been reported from anywhere, an official spokesperson said.
Tight security arrangements were being put in place in Sunaria jail in Rohtak, where the CBI court judge will pronounce the quantum of sentence in the rape case against 50-year-old sect chief. Authorities said they are ensuring that law and order is maintained at all cost tomorrow when the sentence is pronounced.
The judge will be flown to the district jail in Sunaria, Rohtak, for pronouncing the quantum of sentence. Security forces were on high alert in Haryana and strict vigil was being maintained in sensitive districts including Panchkula, Sirsa, Rohtak and Fatehabad.
At many sensitive places in Punjab too, security forces conducted flag marches and kept a tight vigil in sensitive areas. Punjab has tightened security at vital installations, Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh said yesterday evening. Singh will be visiting some of the affected areas of Punjab today to congratulate the people and the forces on the ground for maintaining peace.
Amarinder had yesterday said Haryana’s main fault was its failure to prevent such a large crowd from gathering in Panchkula. The Punjab and Haryana High Court yesterday castigated the Haryana government over the deadly violence that erupted in the state, saying it had “surrendered” before the followers of the Dera Sacha Sauda head for “political considerations”.
In a big crackdown, the Haryana government had yesterday sealed over 30 congregation centres of the Dera Sacha Sauda across the state even as it came under attack from the high court over Friday’s violence that claimed 36 lives. Four rifles, including an AK-47, pistols and petrol bombs were among the weapons seized from the supporters of the sect whose chief was convicted on Friday in a 2002 rape case that sparked violence and arson, mainly in Panchkula and Sirsa, police said.
Two cases of sedition were also registered against Dera followers, it added but did not give details. Facing flak over the violence, the Haryana government had suspended Ashok Kumar, the Deputy Commissioner of Police in Panchkula, alleging that his “defective” prohibitory orders allowed the crowd build-up in the district.