Panchkula: Violence broke out in Panchkula leaving at least five persons dead and 50 others injured as situation worsened in some parts of Haryana and Punjab after Dera Sacha Sauda followers went berserk following CBI court Friday convicting sect chief in a rape case.
Five persons, said to be Dera followers, were brought dead in a hospital in Panchkula, a doctor on duty said.
He said that some 50 injured, including media and police personnel, were also brought to the hospital.
As a precautionary measure, authorities clamped curfew in Panchkula, where the Dera followers went on a rampage damaging vehicles including many OB vans of private TV channels.
Besides, situation also worsened in parts of Punjab, mainly in Malwa region, the areas which are stronghold of the Dera Sacha Sauda.
Authorities clamped curfew in Ferozepur, Bathinda, Mansa, Malout and Balauna while the followers made an abortive attempt to torch railway stations at Baluana and Malout.
The rioters also damaged an Income Tax building at Mansa in Punjab and set on fire a petrol pump in Ferozepur.
Security was further strengthened across Haryana and Punjab including Chandigarh, where a maximum alert had already been sounded.
"Security is being further strengthened across Haryana," a senior official said.
A senior official from Punjab said that security has been further strengthened across the state.
Notably, Dera Sacha Sauda headquarters of Punjab are in Salabatpura in Bathinda, where additional forces have been put.
Both Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh have appealed to people, especially Dera followers, to maintain peace and calm.
The Haryana chief minister was holding an emergency meeting with Council of his Ministers to monitor the situation.
After the CBI court convicted the Dera chief, Dera followers, who had gathered in strength over the past four days in Panchkula, went berserk after which police lobbed tear gas shells, resorted to lathicharge and fired in the air to control the mob.
Immediately after the verdict, many Dera followers including large number of women started crying.
Some followers went berserk and also allegedly damaged a OB van of a private TV channel.
Police lobbed tear gas shells and used water canons in an attempt to bring the situation under control.
The CBI court pronounced the verdict amid unprecedented security cover, over 15 years after an anonymous sexual exploitation complaint was registered against him.
The CBI judge Jagdeep Singh while holding the 50-year-old Dera chief guilty of rape said the quantum of sentence will be pronounced on 28 August, CBI counsel HPS Verma told reporters outside the court.
Amid tension ahead of the verdict, the Dera head earlier appealed to his followers to maintain calm and peace.
A large number of Dera followers were also camping in Sirsa where authorities clamped curfew from 10 pm on Thursday. Like in Panchkula, army has also been called in Sirsa as well to deal with any law order situation.
Prohibitory orders have already been clamped in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh.
Security agencies in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh have been on their toes ahead of the verdict.
Updated Date: Aug 25, 2017 17:35 PM