Chandigarh, July 5: A Panchkula court has framed charges against 41 people in connection with the violence that followed the conviction last year of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, but dropped sedition clauses.
The charges have been framed for rioting, attempt to murder, use of explosive substances (under the Explosive Substances Act) and damaging public property (under the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act), defence counsel Suresh Rohilla said on Thursday.
He said the court of Additional Sessions Judge Neerja Kulwant Kalson framed charges against the accused on Tuesday.
However, sedition charges against them have been dropped, he said.
"As the state government denied sanction for slapping sedition charges against the accused, the court has dropped sedition charges against all 41 in connection with FIR no 333," he said.
Senior Dera functionaries including Chamkaur Singh, Govind Ram Insan and Surinder Dhiman Insan are among the 41 accused, he said."We had submitted before the court that for prosecuting the accused under Sections 121, 121-A and 122 of IPC, the sanction has not been accorded by the state government," he said.
These sections pertain to waging war against the State, conspiracy to commit offences, collecting arms, etc. with intention of waging war against the Government.
As many as 239 FIRs had been registered by the Panchkula police in different police stations in connection with the violence that broke out after the Dera chief was convicted in August last year.
In February this year, a court in Panchkula had dropped sedition charges against 53 Dera followers in another FIR related to the violence.
The violence after Singh's conviction in two rape cases left 35 dead in Panchkula, while six others were killed in Sirsa.
The Dera chief is currently lodged in Sunaria jail in Rohtak.