Army moves in to vacate Dera headquarters in Sirsa; crackdown on other campuses
Chandigarh: Army and paramilitary forces moved in to get the Dera Sacha Sauda headquarters near Sirsa town in Haryana vacated on Saturday, a day after the sect chief was convicted of rape, sparking large-scale violence by his supporters.
There are still thousands of Dera followers inside the sect headquarters, around 260 km from here, sources said.
Authorities in Haryana have also ordered security forces to crack down on the sect campuses elsewhere in Haryana. Dera followers have been asked to move out.
The Haryana government counsel told the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Saturday that there were 36 Dera campuses, known as ‘Naam Charcha Ghar’ across the state, including the sprawling 800-acre sect headquarters near Sirsa town.
Sources in the government said that two Dera premises in Kurukshetra district had already been sealed by the local authorities after getting these vacated of Dera followers.
Action was being initiated in other districts to get Dera campuses vacated and disperse the sect followers.
On Friday, tens of thousands of supporters of Dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh went on the rampage in Haryana and Punjab, to vent their anger against the court verdict.
The arson left 31 people, 29 of them in Panchkula town, dead and nearly 250 others injured.
Vehicles and property were also damaged and set on fire by the unruly Dera followers.
The BJP government in Haryana led by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar is under fire for its inept handling of the situation following the conviction of the sect chief.
The conviction was announced by a CBI special court in Panchkula on Friday.