Expecting turmoil ahead of the verdict in a rape case against self-styled godman and Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, Punjab DGP has issued warnings to all police stations to gear up for imminent violence by Dera followers, if the verdict goes against their guru, media reports said. The government too has decided to deploy 97 CRPF companies, including Rapid Action Force, in Panchkula during hearing on Friday, ANI reported.
Ram Rahim Singh Rape Trial: 97 CRPF companies, including Rapid Action Force, to be deployed in Panchkula during hearing on Friday.
— ANI (@ANI) August 23, 2017
Punjab Director General of Police (law and order), Hardeep Dhillon, in his warning letter to police officials, said that Dera followers were keeping drums filled with petrol and diesel, sharp-edged weapons and stones at Naam Charcha Ghars, where their prayer ceremonies are held in Faridkot, according to The Times of India.
Another report in Outlook said that Dera followers have even issued violent threats against India and footage of them in Panipat showed them armed with batons.
Hundreds of his followers, who call themselves 'Premis' have also arrived in Panchkula and camped near the courthouse where the judgment will be pronounced. The Panchkula town administration has asked petrol pump owners to prevent open sale of fuel to people.
The special CBI court in Panchkula will pronounce the judgement in the rape case against Rahim on 25 August and the chief of the Sirsa-headquartered sect has been asked to appear in person.
The allegations against the self-styled godman surfaced in 2006 as anonymous letters were circulated about the alleged sexual exploitation of two former female follower. The victim accused the Dera chief of raping her more than once inside the sprawling Dera campus, on the outskirts of Sirsa town in Haryana, 260 km from Chandigarh, leading to a CBI investigation.
The sect management has been refuting all charges against Singh.
Despite murder, conspiracy and rape charges against him, Singh enjoys Z-category security from the Haryana Police and moves around in a fleet of bullet-proof luxury SUVs. He has millions of followers in Haryana, Punjab and various other places.
One court ruling and two states on red alert
The authorities in Punjab and Haryana have asked the police in both states to be on high alert. A two-day ban — on 24 and 25 August — has been imposed on vehicular movement on roads near Haryana's Panchkula district court complex in view of the verdict, PTI had reported.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) of Panchkula had said that elaborate arrangements have been made to maintain law and order and ensure smooth flow of traffic in the area. Roads adjoining the district court complex and the dividing road of Sectors 1 and 2 will remain closed for the two days, he had said.
The dividing road of Sectors 1 and 6, the road from Old Panchkula to Tank Chowk traffic lights and Majri Chowk road under the flyover would also remain closed, the officer had said.
He had said that people have been appealed to not use these routes and cooperate with the administration.
DCP Panchkula has directed the managers of all government and private guest and rest houses not to make new bookings without police verification and approval of the additional deputy commissioner. They would also make sure that the identity of the people who are already staying at these guest houses are verified by the police, she had said.
The deputy commissioner had also said that a report of the verification would be submitted to the additional deputy commissioner. Stern action would be taken against those found violating these instructions, she had said. Two control rooms have been set up in view of the possibility of any "emergent" situation.
With inputs from agencies
Updated Date: Aug 23, 2017 15:03 PM