The sector 16 cricket stadium in Chandigarh which used to be the training ground of Indian legends like Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh and even Kapil Dev is set to be turned into a jail on Friday. The stadium had hosted its first one-day international (ODI) in January 1985 and its only Test match in 1990 but lost importance thereafter. The Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) stadium came up in Mohali 1995. A total of five ODIs were played in this stadium with the last one coming against Australia in 2007. The sector stadium was also used by the former Indian captain Kapil Dev to train. The reason why this decision has been taken is quite bemusing as well.
First of all, the stadium will only be converted into a jail on a temporary basis. The decision has been taken to detain the Dera Sacha Sauda followers who may come to the city in support of the preacher Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Insaan after the Panchkula CBI court pronounces verdict in a rape case against the Dera chief on that day, reported TOI. The stadium is spread over 15.32 acres and can hold up to 20,000 people but the number of Dera followers to gather in the city is expected to be much more.
Apart from the stadium, the police are also planning to use schools and other government buildings to detain the followers and already imposed Section 144 of CrPC. Newly-appointed Chandigarh SSP Nilamabri Vijay Jagdale said on Tuesday that police have prepared an elaborate plan to tackle the situation on August 25.
Over 3500 cops will be stationed at various parts of the city to ensure the law and order situation. A sexual exploitation case was registered against the Dera chief in 2002 by the CBI on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. This case was filed after letters were circulated about the alleged sexual exploitation of two female followers. The charge sheet in the case was filed by the CBI on July 30, 2007.