Panchkula burns after Gurmeet Ram Rahim convicted: Congress calls for Manohar Lal Khattar's resignation

The Congress Friday called for the resignation of Haryana chief minister ML Khattar, with party president Sonia Gandhi expressing grave concern over the violence in the state

PTI August 25, 2017 21:27:09 IST
Panchkula burns after Gurmeet Ram Rahim convicted: Congress calls for Manohar Lal Khattar's resignation

New Delhi: The Congress Friday called for the resignation of Haryana chief minister ML Khattar, with party president Sonia Gandhi expressing grave concern over the violence in the state.

The Congress president appealed for peace, while vice-president Rahul Gandhi stressed that violence and brutality had no place in society. "@PMOIndia must put the interest and safety of Indians before his party's interests. @mlkhattar must resign," the party said on Twitter.

Panchkula burns after Gurmeet Ram Rahim convicted Congress calls for Manohar Lal Khattars resignation

File image of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. AP

At least 30 people were killed and 250 injured Friday in widespread violence, arson and police firing in Haryana triggered by the rape conviction of self-styled godman Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, the head of Dera Sacha Sauda.

In a statement here, the Congress president said several people including children had died in the violence, and "there was widespread destruction of public property and senseless attacks" on the media.

She appealed to the people to maintain peace. She also spoke with Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh and asked the government of Haryana and the Chandigarh administration to ensure the safety of all citizens.

Rahul Gandhi, who left for Norway earlier Friday, condemned the "rampage and lawlessness" in Haryana and appealed for the restoration of peace. "Violence and brutality have no place in our society. Condemn the rampage and lawlessness in Haryana and appeal to restore peace and tranquillity," he said on Twitter.

His tweet came a few hours after he left for Oslo, where he is expected to meet and interact with political and business leaders.

Former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda also appealed for peace but said the government should have been prepared. "The priority now is to restore law and order, peace and harmony. I appeal to the people of Haryana to maintain calm and ensure there is no loss of life or damage to property," he told reporters after violence broke out in Panchkula and other parts of the state in the wake of the conviction in the 2002 rape case.

Hooda said it was not the time for a blame-game but said the government should have been prepared and steps taken in advance to ensure law and order. He said Haryana had already suffered because of the "laxity" and "weakness" of the government during earlier agitations.

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