Ram Rahim rape trial: HC pulls up Haryana Govt, directs Centre to deploy additional forces
Punjab and Haryana high court pulled up Haryana government for not timely applying the right clauses of section 144. Why was assembly not prohibited, asked the Court? The court said these are basic preventive measures that could have been taken to avoid violence and uncontrollable situation that spooked up a day ahead of the verdict. The court also directed Gurmeet Ram Rahim to appeal to his followers to stay calm.
The court said that it will order army if Centre does not do the needful. The Centre has assured the court that all steps would be taken to ensure law and order. It has also directed the IB to give inputs to state government.
Meanwhile, mobile internet has been suspended in Haryana for 72 hours as a precautionary measure. The Army has also been contacted by the state governments to ensure assistance in maintaining law and order.
In the past two days, over one lakh followers have reached Panchkula to show their solidarity as Haryana and Punjab maintain maximum alert ahead of the court judgment in a rape case against the Dera head Gurmit Ram Rahim.
Earlier on Wednesday, as a precautionary measure, the government had ordered closure of schools and colleges in Panchkula district on August 24 and 25. The government also declared a holiday for offices and banks situated in Sectors 4, 5 and 6 in Panchkula district.
Many followers are still arriving at the sect's Sector-23 based 'Naam Charcha Ghar' (congregation/prayer centre) in Panchkula to show their solidarity with the sect chief, who has been asked to appear in person in the special CBI court on Friday.
Meanwhile, the Haryana transport department has directed the Haryana Roadways to terminate all its Chandigarh-bound buses at the Ambala bus stand. It is also expected that the internet services may be suspended depending on the situation.
The railways has cancelled 29 trains bound for Punjab and Haryana for four days, beginning today. According to a Northern Railway spokesperson, 22 trains to Punjab and 7 to Haryana have been cancelled. The trains would have made 74 trips over the next four days. "We had received a request from the Haryana government to cancel trains in the state in view of apprehensions on the law and order front," he said.
A case was registered against Dera chief Singh in 2002 by the CBI on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court after anonymous letters were circulated about alleged sexual exploitation of two female followers, as per a PTI report. Singh was accused of raping them inside the Dera campus on the outskirts of Sirsa town in Haryana. A charge sheet in the case was filed by the CBI in 2007. However, the Dera chief has denied these charges.