No untoward incident in Haryana, Punjab after Dera chief's sentencing

No untoward incident was on Tuesday reported from Haryana or Punjab, a day after Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was sentenced to 20-year imprisonment in two rape cases even as the security forces continued to remain on alert, officials said.

Chandigarh: No untoward incident was on Tuesday reported from Haryana or Punjab, a day after Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was sentenced to 20-year imprisonment in two rape cases even as the security forces continued to remain on alert, officials said.

Mobile internet services were restored in Punjab, however, these services will remain suspended till August 30 in Ambala, Kurukshetra, Kaithal, Jind, Hisar, Fatehabad and Sirsa districts of Haryana.

Ram Rahim Singh, who cried when he was sentenced yesterday, did not have food last night in the Sunaria jail in Rohtak, though the 50-year-old self-styled godman had some milk in the morning today, a jail official said.

Following the conviction of the self-styled godman, there was speculation today about his likely successor and the names of his son Jasmeet, adopted daughter Honeypreet and Dera chairperson Vipassana Insan were doing the rounds.

However, Dera sources said no such move yet has been initiated.

The Punjab and Haryana High court today directed the Haryana government to file a detailed status report on the steps taken to sanitise Dera Sacha Sauda centres including the sect headquarters at Sirsa.

The High Court also directed that both Haryana and Punjab set up Special Investigation Teams comprising three officers, and headed by an officer not below the rank of an ADGP, for conducting the investigation into all the FIRs registered at various places in connection with the Dera violence issue.

The Bench, comprising acting Chief Justice S S Saron, Justice Avneesh Jhingan and Justice Surya Kant, was hearing a PIL filed by a Panchkula resident, who had raised law and order concerns and stated that over 1.5 lakh people had reportedly entered the district earlier despite prohibitory orders.

"There was no report of any untoward incident in Haryana. There is absolute peace in the state," Haryana Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Ram Niwas said this evening.

Meanwhile, the district administration in Sirsa said curfew will be lifted in all parts of the city tomorrow except the road leading to the Dera Sacha Sauda headquarters.

"We have decided there will be no curfew for the entire day tomorrow. But curfew will be in place on roads going towards the Dera," Sirsa, DC, Prabhjot Singh said.

Authorities in Sirsa gave a 12-hour curfew relaxation from 7 am today after no violent incident was reported from anywhere in the district.

"Peace is prevailing in the Sirsa town and relaxation in curfew was given up to 7 pm today except for the roads leading to the Dera. Educational institutions and banks have re-opened and people are busy in day-to-day work," said Singh.

However, the Army, paramilitary forces and police continued to be deployed at various nakas in the city as a precautionary measure, the Sirsa DC said in an official release.

Singh claimed that the district administration today sent 650 people from Dera Sacha Sauda to their respective destinations and now only 250 to 300 people are now left in the Dera. Apart from this, 18 girls aged upto 18 years are taken out from the Dera after completing all legal formalities, he said.

Sirsa town is home to the sprawling Dera headquarters where the sect's followers had gathered in large numbers ahead of Ram Rahim's conviction.

Curfew has earlier been lifted from other towns of Haryana including Panchkula and Kaithal.

Punjab today lifted curfew from five districts where it was imposed and train services have also been resumed.

Directions in this regard were given by Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, according to his media advisor Raveen Thukral.

Life in the sensitive districts of Punjab including Bathinda, Patiala and Moga where there is sizeable presence of Dera followers, remained peaceful as well, officials said.

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