Panchkula getting ‘normal’ but locals angry with administration

Panchkula: In a good news, peace has been restored in Panchkula, where followers of a rape-convict guru ran riot. But despite that one thing is for sure, locals say their anger at the administration is unlikely to fade.

Followers of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, the leader of cult Dera Sacha Sauda, destroyed public and private property in a rampage that started as soon as he was convicted for raping two women.

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The epicentre of the unrest — which has quite a negative impact on Haryana, parts of Punjab and the national capital, was Panchkula where Singh’s followers had started to amass days before the verdict.

SK Nayyar, president of citizen welfare association, said one the first mistake on the part of the office of deputy commissioner and local police heads was to give permission to Dera followers to scramble inside Panchkula for days.

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Once they realized that decision has backfired, the situation had already gone out of control, he said.

“The political leadership might have helped Dera followers to assemble here but the officers also did not show integrity and buckled under pressure rather than doing their duty,” he added.

Meanwhile, a social activist from Sector 2, Seema Bhardwaj, said even a layman on the roadside would have known that the crowd will go into a frenzy if their leader was convicted.

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“This is precisely what happened on Friday but the authorities responsible for the city’s safety remained incompetent,” she added.

Bhardwaj is of the view that the so-called ‘babus’ and ‘men in khaki’ had put the people’s lives in danger and left them disgruntled.

“Just the suspension of DCP Ashok Kumar is not sufficient,” she said, seeking others responsible to be taken to task.

Another glaring fact about the whole incident was the lack of coordination between administration and police authorities as both diverged from the main cause. Suspended Panchkula deputy commissioner of police (DCP) Ashok Kumar asserted that better coordination was required to tackle the huge crowd gathered inside the city.

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Rampal, a security guard at Panchkula Golf Club in Sector 3, where there was thousands of people said that there was a big tent pitched in the middle of the park from where, messages to instigate the crowd were blaring through the speakers.

“But police did not react in time which came as a blow to the law-and-order situation,” he added.