Ram Rahim convicted: Lackadaisical approach of State, Central Government evident
Over 30 people have been killed, and 250 people injured in the violence erupted in Haryana's Panchkula after Dera Sacha Sauda Chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was convicted in a rape case dating back to 2002.
Section 144 CrPC has been imposed in Ghaziabad, Noida, 11 districts of Delhi, including New Delhi as massive outrage broke out in Punjab and Haryana. Media has been targeted and trains and buses have been vandalised post the conviction of the Dera Chief.
The enraged followers of Ram Rahim as anticipated agitated violently post the conviction of their Chief and even the Paramilitary forces, Police and Army could not help prevent the destruction of private and public property and the loss of lives.
Could the Government have done better?
The Dera Chief has plenty of followers and around 200000 of them thronged Panchkula, shedding tears for their Chief ahead of the rape verdict. Even after this show of agitation, the Haryana Government did not impose Section 144 of the CrPC - prohibition of assembly of more than 4 people in a place, which would have prevented such a gathering.
The violence that erupted did not clearly come as a shock as TV reports showed followers of the Dera Chief crying and fainting and also blocking their chief's car ahead of the verdict.
Moreover, the Punjab DG police (Law and Order) issued an order indicating that Dera followers were readying themselves for protest with sharp objects, petrol, diesel and stones, but the Government did not heed.
The Punjab DG Police had also warned of violence and suggested that precautionary and preventive measures should be taken ahead of the verdict in August 25 in the Special CBI Court in Panchkula.
High Court accused Haryana Government of 'Complete Collusion'
While hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) on the situation in Panchkula, ahead of the verdict of the Dera Chief, the High Court had asked the State Government to ensure the law and order situation is under control in the State which obviously the Haryana Government failed to do.
The High Court on Friday came down heavily on the Haryana Government after violence erupted and the Dera Chief followers went out of control post the rape verdict.
The High Court accused the State Government of being in 'Complete Collusion' with the Dera Chief followers when the State Advocate General said the Section 144 could not be imposed due to a 'clerical error' in the order passed by the Deputy Commissioner of the district.
Lackadaisical approach of the State and Centre Government evident:
Dera Sacha Sauda Chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh isn't just a spiritual leader with massive following, but he is also an actor, singer, performer and runs a successful consumer goods company.
He is also a VVIP citizen with a Z+ security cover provided by the Government of India, and has a large number of followers from Dalits and other backward classes.
In 2014 the Ram Rahim has extended the Dera's support to BJP during the Haryana State elections, thus helping BJP form the government in the state, which could also explain the BJP's failure to control the mob in the state.
The larger than life image of rape convict Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was a clear indication of the violence and outrage that could take place if the Dera Chief's misguided followers were not kept in control. But the State Government much to the shock and dismay of many did not pay heed to the impending verdict and allowed the followers to gather in Panchkula.
The Haryana Government on Friday failed to do its basic duty - maintaining law and order in the state to ensure the safety of all.