Curfew imposed, huge army presence after Dera Sacha chief convicted: 10 key developments

The law and order situation in the parts of Panchkula and Sirsa in Haryana state is crippled as the supporters of self-proclaimed “godman” Dera Sacha Sauda Chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh take control over the streets after court convicts him of rape.

Since then, 31 people were killed and over 250 were injured in deadly clashes that followed the court verdict. The court has reserved its order on Monday. Till then, the self-proclaimed godman is kept in a special prison cell in Rohtak. There is huge Army presence near the headquarters of the sect in Sirsa. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh is meeting top officials to review the security situation.

Here are the big developments that have taken place after his conviction:

1: Immediately after the verdict against the Dera chief came, the supporters rampaged in response. The supporters attacked the railway stations, television vans, petrol pumps in towns across Punjab and Haryana. Thousands of cars were gutted to fire in Panchkula town while a bloodied body lay in the middle of a road.

2: The protest fire soon finds its way to Delhi, Punjab, and Rajasthan. Two train stations were set on fire in Punjab. 200 trains were canceled that run through Punjab and Haryana. In Delhi, a bus and two coaches of an empty train were set on fire. The capital has been placed on high alert.

3: “The law and order situation is under control as there has been no report of violence since last night,” said a senior police officer. Army also conducted a flag march in riot-hit regions. According to Reuters, nearly 1,000 members of his Sacha Sauda group were detained for violence and arson.

4: Justifying violence, one of the lawyers of Ram Rahim, according to Reuters said, the Dera chief was innocent and his followers had every right to express their outrage. Ram Rahim’s sect will appeal against Friday’s verdict.

5: In tweets, Prime Minister Narendra Modi condemned the violence, saying it was “deeply distressing” and added the situation was being closely monitored. The Prime Minister’s office has reportedly instructed central and state officials to work round the clock to restore law and order.

6: Yesterday, the Punjab and Haryana High Court attacked the administration for failing to make adequate arrangements against the overwhelming presence of Ram Rahim devotees. Court ordered that the entire property of Dera Sacha Sauda should be attached for the damage their sect members have caused to public property. A hearing will be held at 10 am today by the full bench of the High Court.

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