Khattar's defence: Criminals infiltrated Dera followers
In an apparent move to shield the followers of spiritual guru Gurmeet Ram Rahim, who went on rampage on Friday which killed around 30 people and injured 350, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Khattar said some anti-social elements inflitrated with Dera followers resulting in the widespread violence.
The CM said criminals, who had infiltrated the crowd of Dera Sacha Sauda followers, violated the law and vowed to punish them.
"Some anti-social elements got mixed up with the followers of Dera after Ram Rahim was held guilty by the CBI court in the case involving the Dera chief, resorted to violence and disrupted the peace."
"Strict action is being taken against these persons. No one is above the law and strict action will be taken against anyone who tries to take the law into his hands," the CM had said earlier.
Dera followers on a rampage across North Karnakata burnt cars, motorcycles and damaging other public property after a court convicted their flamboyant spiritual guru for raping two followers at the headquarters of the sect in Sirsa town in 2002.
As the violence intensified Police personnel deployed in riot resorted to firing tear gas shells, pellet guns and finally, with firearms with regular ammunition. Haryana's police chief BS Sandhu later told reporters they had not been able to identify the people who had lost their lives yet.
Meanwhile, the Punjab and Haryana High court slammed the Haryana police for allowing thousands of Dera followers to assemble in Panchkula despite having clamped prohibitory orders there. The high court said it doesn't want a repeat of the Jat agitation where the police and state government had badly failed to deal with violent protestors.
The high court asked the Haryana police to use whatever force it needs to deal with the violence. It also told the police to register FIRs if any politician flares up sentiment.