Panchkula: It was expected but when it occurs, it stunned everyone. At least 28 people were killed and more than 250 others injured after followers of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh went on the rampage, straight after a CBI court in Panchkula convicted him of raping two women between 1999 and 2001.
Official figures say 27 people were killed in Panchkula, adjoining Chandigarh, where the CBI courts complex is situated and where Dera followers had gathered.
Talking about the injured, there were 60 police personnel, including two SSPs and a DySP, and number of media personnel.
Haryana DGP B S Sandhu told mediapersons that police used tear-gas and pellet-guns in order to disperse the mob at various locations. He also disclosed that police recovered arms and ammunition from the convoy that accompanied Gurmeet Ram Rahim from Sirsa to Panchkula.
“Some tension is expected in Sirsa but the rest of the state is calm. The situation in Panchkula is totally under control. We dispersed around 50,000 to 1 lakh people from Panchkula in a three-hour operation. We seized three rifles, three pistols and some amounts of narcotics from the vehicles that arrived in Panchkula as part of the motorcade of the Dera chief. Further investigation is on,” said Sandhu.
In Panchkula, Dera followers damaged more than 100 private and government vehicles, and four government buildings.
Few days back, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar called an emergency meeting of his Cabinet to review the situation. Later, he inspected a few of the locations that witnessed violence and the civil hospital in Panchkula, where some of the injured were admitted.
Coming to the case, Gurmeet Ram Rahim denied the charges but in July 2007, the CBI filed a chargesheet in the Ambala court, which accused him of sexually exploiting the two women between 1999 and 2001. The CBI special court then framed charges against Ram Rahim under Sections 376 (rape) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the IPC in September 2008.