Haryana and Punjab continue to be on high alert ahead of the sentencing of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim. A special CBI court in Rohtak is set to pronounce the sentence at 2.30 pm on Monday afternoon.
A multi-layer security cordon manned by police and 23 companies of paramilitary forces has been thrown in and around Rohtak and also around the Sunaria Jail, where a special court has been set up. Dera Sacha Sauda chief is lodged in Sunaira Jail and CBI Judge Jagdeep Singh is being flown to Rohtak.
The Army too has been kept on standby. The authorities are taking no chances after Ram Rahim’s followers went on a rampage following the leader’s conviction. 38 people were killed in the violence and more than 260 people were injured.
“We are prepared to deal with any unscrupulous element who may try to create trouble…if there is any such element who indulges in any act of violence endangering innocent lives, if he does not pay heed to warnings then shoot-at-sight will be used against him. Action will be taken as per situation demands…We have clarity of thought, we are not confused. If we feel any person is endangering lives of innocent people and is causing damage to property, then shoot-at-sight will be used (to deal in such a situation),” Rohtak Deputy Commissioner Atul Kumar said.
No Dera follower will be allowed to enter Rohtak district or move near the Sunaria jail, said Navdeep Singh Virk, IG, Rohtak Range.
“For that we have made set up special barricades across entire Rohtak district. Also, we have made special arrangements to ensure safety of Rohtak and neighbouring towns. For this purpose, several barricades with strong police presence have been set up,” he added.
According to the police, if during checking, any person fails to produce proof of identity or specify reason for visiting the district, he would be taken into custody.
The police have sealed ten “naam charcha ghars” (congregation centres) of the Dera in Rohtak police range. In all, 103 such centres have been searched across Haryana. A sedition case has been slapped against two close aides of the sect head after the violence in Panchkula on Friday.
Prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) have also been imposed in Rohtak and Sirsa, where the sect headquarters is lodged, continues to be under curfew.
Police have registered 52 cases in connection with the violence which left a trail of destruction, particularly in Panchkula and Sirsa in Haryana, and arrested 926 people.
All educational institutions have been asked to remain closed in sensitive areas. Mobile Internet services will remain suspended in both Haryana and Punjab through the day.
In Punjab too, regular flag marches were held in sensitive areas like Bathinda, Sangrur, Moga and Patiala.
(With inputs from PTI)