Dera violence: Centre rushes forces to Punjab, Haryana

Last Updated: Sunday, February 28, 2010 - 23:41

Chandigarh: An uneasy calm prevailed on Sunday
in parts of Haryana and Punjab hit by violence after filing of
a fresh murder case against the Dera Sacha Sauda chief, as
authorities tightened security with the Centre rushing 1,200
paramilitary personnel to the affected areas.

At least 50 people were arrested in the two states and
cases of arson, damaging public property and disturbing peace
filed against them, police said, adding prohibitory orders
were clamped in worst affected Sirsa, where the sect is based,
Fatehbad, Jind and Hisar in Haryana

Patrolling has been intensified to keep an eye on anti-
social elements, while security has been beefed up at public
places like railway and bus stations and malls.

Punjab ADGP (Law and Order) J P Birdi said the
situation was peaceful and no untoward incident was reported.

The Centre has asked the states to take severe action
against those breaking law and order.

"We have sent central paramilitary forces, 12
companies to Punjab and Haryana to take care of the situation.
Strict instructions have been given to the state governments
to take severe action against those breaking law and order,"
Union Home Secretary G K Pillai told reporters in Delhi.

Resenting the filing of a murder case against Dera
Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh by the CBI, sect
supporters last evening went on a rampage setting ablaze four
trains and around 37 vehicles, including 27 buses, and
vandalised property in several places in Punjab and Haryana.

The sect chief, who held a religious congregation at
Sirsa amid tight security today, claimed the case against him
was false and that his followers were not involved in the
violence as it is against their beliefs.

Last week, the CBI had booked the 42-year-old Dera
chief 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 Dera chief also faces three other cases including
one of sexual exploitation and two of murder of another sect
Manager and a Sirsa-based journalist.

Condemning the violence, the main opposition Congress
in Punjab demanded resignation of Deputy Chief Minister
Sukhbir Singh Badal, who also holds the Home portfolio.

Badal, meanwhile, warned of strict action against
those who violate the law. He said that 90 rioters have
already been rounded up. The DGP was supervising law and order
arrangements and extra forces have been rushed to sensitive

"Let there be no confusion in anyone`s mind. No one
will be allowed to get away with lawless acts. Peace and
communal harmony will be maintained at all costs," he said
addressing a gathering on the occasion Holla Mohalla
festivities at Anadpur Sahib.

The mobs had on Saturday evening torched and damaged
37 vehicles, 27 of them buses, in Bathinda, Mansa, Talwandi
Sabo, Bhagapurana and other places in Punjab and at Kaithal,
Sirsa and Fatehabad in Haryana.

There was a report of fire in a bus early this
morning in Panipat, though the police maintained that it was
not related to the Dera violence.

"The situation is completely peaceful in Haryana. No
untoward incident has been reported from anywhere so far
today," Haryana DGP (law and order) V N Rai said, adding
road and rail traffic in the state was running normally.

However, few trains including Punjab Mail,
Sriganganagar- Haridwar express and Bathinda Inter City
remained suspended on Ferozepur-Ambala rail sections, a
Northern Railway spokesman said.

The protesters yesterday set afire a compartment each of
the Ferozepur-Ludhiana Sutlej Express, the Narwana-Kurukshetra
train and two local trains after asking the passengers to
disembark. They also vandalised railway property at Tapa, Moga
and Kalaiyat in Punjab, he said.

In Moga, the protesters had 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 air to disperse them.


First Published: Sunday, February 28, 2010 - 23:41

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