Sentence at 2:30, uneasy calm No mobile internet in Punjab, Haryana till tomorrow; Army on standby


The situation in Haryana continued to be tense but peaceful ahead of tomorrow’s sentencing of convicted Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in a rape case. Senior officials said foolproof arrangements had been made for the pronouncement of sentence at 2.30 pm by CBI’s Special Judge-cum-Panchkula Additional District and Sessions Judge Jagdeep Singh at a makeshift court in the Rohtak district jail.Director General of Police BS Sandhu said mischievous elements would not be allowed to vitiate peace, and that the state police, paramilitary forces and the Army were closely monitoring the situation. The judge would be flown in from Panchkula in a helicopter. Dera supporters would not be allowed to enter Rohtak tomorrow, the Rohtak Range IG said.Curfew remained imposed in Sirsa where the Army was deployed on August 25. Sirsa houses the dera headquarters, spread over 800 acres. The curfew was relaxed from 7 am to 11 am today even as the authorities tried to evacuate dera followers from the premises in Haryana Roadways buses. The dera houses five colonies and about 10,000 people permanently reside inside.Of the 110 “nam charcha ghars” in Haryana, 103 had been sanitised and several sealed to prevent unlawful assembly. The 10 such ghars in the Rohtak range had been put under surveillance.Meanwhile, Haryana and Punjab today extended the suspension of mobile Internet services till Tuesday. Educational institutions at most sensitive places, including Panchkula, will remain shut.The Haryana DGP said the death toll in the August 25 violence had risen to 38. Of these, 32 casualties had been reported from Panchkula and six from Sirsa. Sixteen victims had so far been identified.In Punjab, Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh today toured the Malwa region to assess the security situation there. He urged calm and warned those who tried to vitiate the atmosphere.

Makeshift court

  • CBI judge will hand down the sentence at a makeshift court in Sunaria jail, Rohtak, where dera chief is lodged
  • Only he and a few lawyers will be allowed inside the court
  • The jail is located on outer Ring Road adjacent to Police Training College

Spokesmen bookedThe Haryana Police have booked dera spokesmen Aditya Insan and Dhiman Insan on charges of sedition. The two were seen talking to supporters outside the CBI court in Panchkula prior to the verdict. The police said they would investigate their role in inciting violence.