Dera supporters rampage in Punjab, Haryana

Protesting murder case against the Dera Sacha Sauda chief by CBI, sect supporters went on a rampage.

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

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

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