Two Dera Sacha Sauda followers who were arrested on Sunday, for inciting violence after the conviction of their chief, have reportedly confessed that they were told to spread violence in case the verdict didn’t go in Ram Rahim’s favor.
The two accused rioters, Duni Chand and Ranjit Singh, have confessed yesterday that they were told to target public buildings in the Malwa region of Punjab, if the Panchkula Court convicted their Guru. "We attended a meeting in Sirsa at 2 am on August 17 and were told to target public buildings if the verdict went against our Guruji," the main accused, Duni Chand, told the reporters.
Chand and his accomplice Singh have been accused of spreading violence in the southern districts of Punjab, including Sangrur, Barnala, Patiala, Mansa and Bathinda and some parts of Haryana.
It is also suspected that Singh was the mediator between Chand and the followers; he allegedly transferred information from Chand to the local Dera followers. The rioters have been ‘premis’, as the Dera followers are commonly known, since 1994.
Senior Superintendent of Police, Mandeep Singh Sidhu told the reporters that the accused were arrested from the outskirts of the Gujran village near Dirba.
Duni Chand, who is a native of the Sherpur town in Punjab, was a part of the A-Team that was supposed to spread violence in the Malwa region. A third name has also come up in the case; it was apparently Rakesh Kulmar, a close aide of the Godman, who had formed this 8-member A-team to incite violence in case of an adverse verdict. So it was Rakesh who was giving orders to Chand, who was further conveying them to the likes of Ranjit.
"Rakesh Kumar, who lives in the Sirsa Dera and was in touch with the Dera head, had formed an eight-member 'A' team to spark off violence in Malwa in case of an adverse verdict. Chand was a member of that team," explained Sidhu.
The state police confiscated pepper spray and Dera literature worth Rs.1.7 lacs from the car Chand was driving.
An ashamed Chand told the reporters, “Like me, many others fell in the Dera management's trap and got ready to burn our own state.”
The accused Ranjit had also attended the meeting conducted 2 days before the hearing by the district police, asking people to maintain law and order.
Fifty-nine Dera followers have been arrested in the district so far under charges of attempt to murder and damaging public and private property. The police have impounded 22 motorcycles and three cars in this connection. The other members of this A-Team, however, haven’t been caught yet.
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