Thousands of riot police have been deployed in Punjab and Haryana ahead of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh’s rape sentencing. The Internet services in the two states have also been shut down following the rampage that the Dera followers caused, after the self-proclaimed Godman was convicted last Friday.
Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh’s cult Dera Sachcha Sauda has many followers in the rural areas of Punjab and Haryana. The frenzied fanatics of the cult burned down railway stations and gas stations, set ablaze vehicles, after the Panchkula court found him guilty of raping a woman in a 2002 case.
The violence following the self-styled godman’s conviction, that claimed at least 38 lives and left 200 others injured, drew a lot of criticism for the BJP - run state government.
Source : trendingnews
This case has once again brought into light the popularity and power that these self-proclaimed spiritual leaders enjoy in India. This is not the first instance where these godmen have successfully swayed masses to create political pressure. Security forces have cordoned off a jail in Rohtak where the rapist is being held.
A special hearing will be held inside the prison in Rohtak, to avoid violent outbreaks, where the judge who convicted Singh will pass the sentence. The hearing will be taking place on Monday, 28th Aug, at 2:30 pm IST.
According to BS Sandhu, the police chief of Haryana, the town of Sirsa that houses the Dera headquarters is already under a lockdown. the schools and colleges will also remain shut on government orders.
Source : financialexpress
Talking about the security measures, Sandhu said, “We’re fully prepared, we have a contingency plan in place.” He also added that more than 10,000 police would be patrolling the state.
The neighboring state of Punjab, that also witnessed violence, has deployed 8000 police and paramilitary forces, banned large gatherings and switched off mobile internet across the state till Tuesday, in order to maintain peace.
Source : financialexpress
Having failed to stop the rioting and vandalism, the Haryana government faced severe criticism from the opposition. The Dera chief has been photographed with senior BJP leaders, including the Haryana Chief Minister, Manoharlal Khattar, on multiple occasions. Only last year, a Haryana minister that the state would be donating 5 million rupees to the Dera to promote sports.
In light of the allegations and criticism, the Prime Minister assured the citizens on his monthly radio address, that no one is above the law, saying, “I want to assure my countrymen that people who take the law into their own hands and are on the path of violent suppression — whether it is a person or a group — neither this country nor any government will tolerate it.”
Apart from the rape conviction, Singh is also under investigation for convincing 400 of his male followers to undergo castration.
Title Image: financialexpress