Dera supporters rampage in Punjab, Haryana
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Last Updated: Saturday, February 27, 2010, 22:12
Chandigarh: Protesting the filing of a murder case against the Dera Sacha Sauda chief by the CBI, sect supporters on Saturday went on a rampage setting ablaze trains and buses, petling stones at vehicles and vandalising property in several places in Punjab and Haryana.

The protesters set afire a compartment each of the Ferozepur-Ludhiana Sutlej Express and two local passenger trains in Punjab, a northern railway spokesman said.

They also vandalised railway property at Tapa, Moga and Kalaiyat in Punjab, he said.

The protesters torched six roadways buses in Moga and stoned and damaged vehicles at Bathinda, Mansa, Talwandi Sabo and Bhagapurana in Punjab and at Kaithal, Sirsa and Fatehabad in Haryana.

Last week, the CBI had booked Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh for the murder of sect Manager Faqir Chand in 1991.

Besides the sect head, four others were booked by the CBI in the case.

The sect head also faces three other cases including one of sexual exploitation and two of murder of another sect Manager and a Sirsa-based journalist.

The protesters asked the train passengers to disembark before setting alight the compartments, the northern railway spokesman said.

A post office was set on fire at Talwandi Sabo in Bathinda by some persons who also forced closure of shops and commercial establishments at Mansa in Punjab.

A report from Fatehabad said two empty buses, parked in a workshop of the Haryana Roadways, and a bill collection centre of the power department were also set afire.

Two buses were torched by the protesters, including some women, on the Ambala-Hissar bypass at Kaithal and one in nearby Narawan town.

The demonstrators blocked traffic on the Ambala-Hissar highway at Kaithal by squatting on the road.

In Moga, the protesters tried to set ablaze the District Administration Complex, housing among others the offices of the Deputy Commissioner and the SSP, prompting police to fire in the air to scatter them.

Over 200 villagers, with some of them firing shots, attacked a police station at Bhagapurana. They fled after the reinforcement reached there from Moga.

In Sirsa, the protesters torched a bus each in Alika, Kurangawali and Begu villages. They also set afire two jeeps in Kalayat town.

Some persons set on fire a Delhi-bound Haryana Roadways bus near Mirzapur village in Hissar district after asking the commuters to alight.

The protesters also blocked vehicular traffic on the Hissar-Delhi road near Hansi.

Dera's chief spokesman Aditya Insaan said the sect followers were not behind the violence which erupted in Punjab and Haryana after the registration of the fresh case against Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.

Meanwhile, appealing to people to maintain calm, Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Punjab Deputy CM Sukhbir Badal asked them not to be misled by anti-social elements and directed law enforcing agencies to deal firmly with those who tried to take law into their hands.

"Anyone trying to indulge in acts of lawlessness or violence or trying to play up communal passions will have to face the consequences under the strictest provisions of the law. Let there be no confusion in anyone's mind that no one will be allowed to get away with lawless acts," Badal said.

Hooda also asked people of his state not to be taken in by people bent upon vitiating the atmosphere of peace in the state.

Haryana has sought 15 companies of para-military forces to tackle the situation while forces from police academies at Madhuban and Bhondsi have been deployed in sensitive areas where the situation had turned volatile, official sources said.


First Published: Saturday, February 27, 2010, 22:12

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