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Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh verdict: Haryana, Punjab on edge, curfew imposed in Chandigarh

LiveMint logoLiveMint 24-08-2017 Shaswati Das

New Delhi: Punjab and Haryana are on the edge as the states await the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) court’s verdict on Friday in a case against Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, who has been accused of raping two women at his ashram.

Section 144 (curfew) of the CrPC (Criminal Procedure Code) has been imposed across Chandigarh, as more than 40,000 of Ram Rahim’s followers have congregated at Naam Charcha Ghar in Panchkula area.

The Chandigarh Police is bracing for any outbreak of violence on Friday, after the CBI court’s verdict, which is scheduled for 2:30pm. The Director General of Chandigarh Police (Law and Order), Tejinder Singh Luthra, has sounded a warning to all police personnel in this regard.

In a letter sent to all Inspectors General of Police and the DG of Punjab Police, Luthra has asked the Chandigarh police to step up vigil, following a tip-off on preparations being carried out by Ram Rahim’s followers.

“The Dera Sacha Sauda Sirsa premise has started storing petrol and diesel in drums in Faridkot district. They have stored stones and sharp-edged weapons on roofs on Naam Charcha Ghars,” the letter states.

While elaborate arrangements have been made to convert the Chandigarh cricket stadium into a “temporary prison” on Friday, to house all law breakers, all schools and colleges in the city have been instructed to remain shut on Thursday and Friday.

The Union home ministry has also extended support to the Haryana and Punjab governments, assuring them of all possible help, including from the central paramilitary forces. So far, more than 100 companies of the Rapid Action Force (RAF) and the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) have been deployed across Haryana and Punjab.

“All police personnel who were on leave have been recalled in preparation for Friday. There is absolute air-tight security around the city and we have ensured a zero-tolerance policy for any form of violence that is likely to take place. There is full cooperation with both state governments in this regard,” said a senior Central government official.

In 2002, the CBI had registered a case against the Dera Sacha Sauda head based on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana high courts.

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