The Deputy Commissioner of Police in Panchkula was fired from his job in a move by Haryana Government to save its remaining face after violence in Haryana reached terrifying levels. IPS Officer Ashok Kumar, the DCP in question has been suspended under the accusation of directing a defective order, whereby increasing Panchkula’s crowd build-up further. Violence in Haryana’s Panchkula and Sirsa districts reached alarming levels with nearly 32 people dead in the violence stirred by DeraSauchaSauda protestors.
Dera Sacha Sauda is a social group following religious leader Ram Rahim Singh who was recently convicted in a 15 year old pending case of 2 rape accusations against him. Post announcing the sentence, Haryana erupted in distressing violence mostly between the Panchkula and Sirsa districts, where the Dera have their headquarters.
Members of the Sangh in numbers were reaching upto 1.5 Lakhs in the Panchkula district- the district where the CBI court’s trial was being held.
In fact, earlier during the day when Rahim Singh entered Panchkula’s CBI Court complex, a convoy of a 100 or 200 cars accompanied him throughout the journey. Anticipating their reaction, CBI put forth careful measures to ensure the convicts security as he was transferred on to Rohtak Jail.However, once outside the complex the security measures failed spectacularly.
Punjab, Haryana and Delhiwere under curfews as well as under section 144, barring any internet services. As the proceedings were beginning, authorities stationed to check control seized 3 rifles, pistols and a quantity of narcotics from incoming cars at Panchkula. Despite claims at that time that Panchkula’s Dera supporters had been evacuated earlier that morning, media reports calculated 1.5 Lakh Dera supporters coming out in protest after announcement of the verdict. By the end of the day, as a result of very shoddy security and a glaring lack of co-ordination between intelligence and the ground forces, 28 people lost their lives and another 250 had theirs in the balance. Up to 6 government buildings saw damage and destruction and various media and other vehicles were wrecked.
By Sunday morning the toll had reachedupto 32 people.
Not only were these deaths and destructions limited to Haryana, the chaos was felt even in parts of Punjab and Delhi. Violencespread in Loni and AnandVihar areas of Delhi and in multiple districts across Punjab.
Ganganagar in Rajasthan which holds the birth village of Rahim Singh faced a restriction on internet mobile services in what one could call an evidence of the fear of Rahim Singh’s influence. Stray incidents of damage to government and public property occurred in that district as well.
High court of Punjab and Haryanariled the state government on the following day of sentencing. Calling out the slack by the forces as well as people in power,Acting Chief Justice S SSaron and Justices Surya Kant and AvneeshJhingan told the government that they were showing bias to the Dera.
In a three bench hearing the justices observed: “National integration and law and order are above everything. We are one nation, not a party nation. Politicians need to understand that the nation is one. It is the Prime Minister of India, not BJP. It is the Chief Minister of the state, not BJP. You (Satya Pal Jain) are Additional Solicitor General of India, not of any party”. The courts instructed AG’s of both the states to submit future plans to manage event of the kind to the courts as well as to invite all applications for claims in cases of damages to properties.
The religious leader Ram Rahim Singh is due for another round of hearings soon. In 2002, he was accused of murdering thejournalist Ram Chandra Chhatrapati, who exposed Dera’s wrong-doings as well as Dera member Ranjit Singh.
The courts have announced that the quantum of Singh’s sentence shall be delivered in a court inside the Rohtak Jail- where Singh has been detained. The session will be held on the coming Monday and preparations have been put into swing.
Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, a self-styled godman who leads Dera Sacha Sauda was first accused of rape in 2002. Two women under anonymity wrote a letter about the crime to then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and the Chief Justice of the High court of Punjab and Haryana. The High court took Suo Motu cognizance and called for CBI to probe this matter. Acute political pressures, favourisms and brave hearts were galore through the 15 year length of the matter.