Haryana and Punjab are on maximum alert ahead of the court judgement in a sexual exploitation case against Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh on August 25. As a precautionary measure, government has ordered closure of schools and colleges in Panchkula district on August 24 and 25, Panchkula Deputy Commissioner Gauri Parashar Joshi said, as per a report in PTI. Here is everything you need to know about this sadhvi rape case which is keeping the entire Punjab and Haryana on their toes:-
– The sexual exploitation case was registered against Dera chief in 2002 by the CBI
– The CBI registered case on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court
– The Punjab and Haryana High Court’s move came after anonymous letters were circulated about the alleged sexual exploitation of two ‘Sadhvis’ (female followers) by Dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.
– However, Dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh has denied these charges
Why Punjab and Haryana are on maximum alert
– Amid reports that the Dera followers could stock petrol, ‘lathis’ and other weapons at ‘Naam Charcha Ghars’, Punjab police has asked all its SSPs and other top ranking police officials to be alert against any such action by the followers if the court verdict goes against the Dera chief.
– Haryana’s Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Ram Niwas said that carrying of any kind of stick or weapon has been prohibited at ‘Naam Charcha Ghar’ of Dera followers in the state.
– Over 35,000 followers of the Dera are estimated to have already reached and many more are still arriving at the sect’s Sector-23 based ‘Naam Charcha Ghar’ (congregation/prayer centre) in Panchkula to show their solidarity with the sect chief, who has been asked to appear in person in the special CBI court on Friday.
– Authorities in Haryana are making every effort to ensure foolproof security arrangements, with a senior official firmly saying they will not allow a repeat of things as witnessed in November 2015 when there was a two-week tense standoff between the self-styled ‘godman’ Rampal’s followers and the police in Hisar during which five women and a child had died. Rampal was later arrested and close to 15,000 of his followers were evacuated from his sprawling premises in Hisar.
– The administration and police were keeping an eye to ensure that law and order is maintained. Security forces in Haryana and Punjab have been taking out flag marches at many sensitive places. Haryana government has already clamped prohibitory orders in all its districts as a precautionary measure. Police have set up barricades at several places in the two states, besides their common capital Chandigarh, where security has been further tightened ahead of the court verdict.
The Dera head has had a run-in in the past with Sikh radicals who had accused him of having allegedly dressed-up as the tenth Sikh Guru Gobind Singh in 2007, following which Punjab had remained on boil for many days.