At least 30 people have been killed and over 250 injured in violence that erupted soon after self styled godman Gurmeet Ram Rahim was convicted of rape by a CBI court in Panchkula in Haryana. The Dera chief is now locked up in a special jail in Rohtak.
As the fires ebbed and night fell on the spiral of violence, police took over from the Army in Panchkula and the focus now shifts to the Dera campus in Sirsa. This short video clip below was shot by security personnel and handed over to our reporters in Panchkula. The reactions have come thick and fast. "Why this kind of VIP treatment for this man, is he on vacation?" ask Atul Tiwari and Dhirendra Yadav on our Facebook page.
Khattar must quit for the shameful violence, after all, he is in charge of the state police, writes Sanjay Singh.
"Dera supporters are ready to come out of the campus in Sirsa but not doing so because they fear action by their management" our reporter network is saying from location.
Curfew has been clamped down in various parts of Haryana and Punjab. It has also been extended to Delhi, Noida and Ghaziabad.
Dera Sacha Sauda followers have poured into Haryana over several days carrying firearms and petrol. Despite intelligence inputs from Punjab police, Haryana police allowed mobs to assemble in and around Panchkula in huge numbers.
Why was the build up allowed? Why did it have to be the Punjab and Haryana High Court telling the state government to rein in the mobs? By then it was too late, anyway.
“There could be a larger political game here”, say those watching who's been meeting whom across party lines in the state last few weeks.
For a more simplistic answer look no further than what's been happening in full public view. "The Dera chief supported the BJP during the 2014 Assembly election and Haryana Chief Minister M.L. Khattar’s association with the self-appointed cult leader is an open secret", reports The Hindu.
The allegations against the Dera chief surfaced in 2002 via anonymous letters reporting the rape of two sadhvis. A CBI probe was ordered in 2003 by the Punjab and Haryana Court.
Panchkula’s civil hospital, PGIMER Hospital in Chandigarh, and Chandigarh’s Government Medical College were scenes of beaten and bruised people killed and injured by the wrath of crazed followers.
Ram Rahim has been convicted under Sections 376 and 506 of the IPC, could serve a minimum of seven years in jail.
Embedded at the end of this story are images from a deadly Friday in the Haryana-Punjab belt.
The violence began within minutes of Ram Rahim, 50, being convicted of raping two women followers more than 15 years ago.
Despite a full week’s time to get security in place, thousands of supporters streamed in for a ‘darshan’ of their chief.
Haryana witnessed similar scenes of mob violence during the Jat agitation that unfolded in February last year. Even in that situation, intelligence inputs warning the state about mob violence came in two weeks in advance. The government ignored the intel warnings, the state burned and 30 people died.
Updated Date: Aug 26, 2017 15:42 PM