Punjab acted on early alert

first_imgThe Punjab Police issued the first of its alert on Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh’s supporters turning violent in case of an adverse verdict on August 13, indicating the build up and violence being planned by the Dera followers, a Punjab police official told The Hindu. Additional Director General, Punjab, Hardeep Singh Dhillon said the instructions to field units were sent on August 13 and they liaised with the Army well in advance.“As soon as the verdict was announced and violence was reported, we mobilised the Army in five mins, as we had already liaised with them. Curfew was imposed immediately at places where we expected trouble. We asked the Haryana administration several times to tell us the date of the verdict as we didn’t want to be caught napping,” Mr. Dhillon said. On August 22, three days before the verdict was announced at a special CBI court in Panchkula, the Punjab Police had issued an internal order that the Dera properties had “started storing petrol, diesel in drums at Naam Charcha Ghars in Faridkot; they have also stored sharp edged weapons and stones on the roof of the Charcha Ghars. On 25.8.2017, if the Hon’ble court would give verdict against Gurmeet Ram Rahim then devotees can use petrol and weapons to harm/destroy the government/public properties,” the communication said. The Centre has refused to hold the Haryana government responsible for its failure to avert Friday’s violence and arson in Panchkula and Sirsa where 32 people were killed, even though intelligence agencies said multiple alerts were issued a month in advance. No casualties were reported in neighbouring Punjab, which also has many Dera ashrams. Home Minister Rajnath Singh held a high level meeting at his residence on Saturday, which was attended by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi said, “DGP Haryana assured the situation is under control. In an ongoing situation, we cannot blame anyone (on Haryana government’s role).”Mr. Dhillon said it was difficult to identify and segregate the Dera followers on the streets. “They were moving around in normal clothes and in private cars, difficult to have stopped each vehicle to check their presence. This is why we enforced curfew in Punjab.” He added that 18,000 police personnel were mobilised and put on alert in the State.last_img

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