Indian cities locked down before decision on rape trial of spiritual guru

Posted August 25, 2017

Ahead of the final judgment over the 14-year-old rape case against Dera Sacha Sauda Chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, Haryana Additional Chief Secretary, Home, Ram Niwas on Thursday said that the strict action will be taken if someone tries to break the law in Panchkula district of Haryana.

Indian investigators allege that Singh, dubbed the "guru in bling", molested two of his female worshipers - a charge that he and his supporters deny.

The note from the Punjab director general of police for law and order.

The question being raised around the activities of the Dera followers is that are they not trying posing a direct challenge to the judiciary and despite his political clout, can the governments afford this?

The police maintained that it was on a high alert. "We would not let anyone disturb the peace".

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An official said in a statement, "Security forces have been pressed into service in border areas and the central government has already been requested to provide 115 companies of paramilitary forces".

The police top brass said this was the biggest deployment of security forces in the state in the past decade or so. Also, the leave of all the police officers gets canceled for a day. The Sonipat district administration has ordered that all petrol pump operators will install CCTV cameras at the petrol pumps in the district. He also asked DGP, Suresh Arora, to check the sensitive areas and have a tight security network in place. He has also also appealed to leaders of all political parties to rise above political lines and help in maintaining peace and communal harmony in Punjab.

Another cohort has also descended on the city: the Dera followers, who have laid siege to the city. The police have been instructed to keep a close watch on social media and have warned people not to spread rumours. Work services related to internet connectivity including the IT companies whose lifeline is internet connectivity to run the show, many professionals now have to wait for the governments decision to withdraw the curfew imposed on the mobile internet and data services in Chandigarh & tricity region.

Roads into Panchkula, where a special court will issue a judgement into the allegations stretching back to 2002, were blockaded, and three stadiums set aside as makeshift prisons in case of trouble, officials said.

"All steps are being taken to ensure that law and order is not disturbed in any way in the wake of the court order", Ram Niwas said. The Haryana police are fully prepared to deal with any kind of situation, he said.