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Dera violence: Australia asks its citizens travelling to India to be on alert

LiveMint logoLiveMint 25-08-2017 Natasha Chaku

Melbourne: Australia on Friday issued a safety advisory for its citizens travelling to India asking them to exercise a high degree of caution following widespread violence after the conviction of self-styled godman Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in a rape case.

Thousands of followers of Ram Rahim, who is the head of Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda, went on the rampage Friday, setting fire to vehicles, buildings and railway stations soon after a special CBI court convicted him in a 2002 rape case.

The advisory issued by department of foreign affairs and trade (DFAT) warned the India-bound travellers to avoid large gatherings and follow the advice of local authorities.

“Local transport has been significantly disrupted with a number of roads closed and rail services cancelled,” the advisory said. “On 25 August 2017, incidents of violence were reported in parts of the states of Haryana (particularly in Sirsa and Panchkula), and Punjab, and the Union Territory of Chandigarh, following the conviction of the leader of the Dera Sancha Sauda spiritual organisation, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh,” it said.

“High alerts and a ban on unauthorised gatherings are in place in these areas until 30 August 2017. Avoid large gatherings as they could become violent. Mobile internet services in Chandigarh have been suspended. Monitor the media for developments that may affect your safety and security,” it added.

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