As violence erupted after Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim singh was convicted of rape charges, normal life has come to a standstill in Punjab, Haryana and Delhi after police ordered curfew in several districts.

Ram Rahim began his journey from Sirsa to the CBI court in Panchkula with a convoy of around 182 cars. Close to five lakh supporters of Dera chief had gathered in large numbers before the verdict. There have been media reports that Ram Rahim's supporters have been stockpiling weapons and petrol bombs. 

Over 15,000 paramilitary personnel were deployed in both Punjab and Haryana as a precautionary measure. Panchkula was under a lockdown as his followers crowded parks, roads and any other available space.

 

After the verdict was announced, clashed started in Panchkula and policemen resorted to firing tear gas shells. The followers beat up journalists and cameramen. NDTV’s OB van was vandalized.

Gunshots were fired in Panchkula at 4 pm. broke down barricades, assaulted police and journalists and set media OB vans on fire. The police lobbed tear gas shells and fired gunshots in the air to quell the protesters. The violence was so bad that Uttar Pradesh sealed its borders with Haryana.

Around 4.30 pm, two train coaches stationed at the Anand Vihar Railway Station yard were set on fire, allegedly by bike-borne miscreants. Balluanna railway station in Punjab was set on fire. Dera Sacha Sauda supporters torched a bus in northeast Delhi’s Loni Chowk.

Delhi Police said two buses were set ablaze and partially damaged in Jyoti Nagar and two buses were torched near BJRM Hospital in Jahangirpuri. Two people were arrested for trying to set a bus on fire in west Delhi’s Khyala, while another was arrested in Badarpur for the same offence. At least 10 buses were damaged in the course of the day, reported the Indian Express. Arvind Kejriwal urged the citizens to maintain peace.

 

Dera comes out with its first official statement after the conviction saying that they have been wronged and that they will appeal in a higher court.

 At least 1000 Dera supporters have been detained in Panchkula.

Masked motorcyclists tried to burn the petrol machines in Bannawali village of Mansa. Four villages in former CM Parkash Singh Badal’s constituency were targeted where damage had been reported at Sewa Kendras, Telephone exchange.

President Ram Nath Kovind condemned the widespread violence that broke out in several parts of Haryana and Punjab by followers of the Dera Sacha Sauda and asked all people to maintain peace.

Bathinda, Mansa, Ferozepur, Fazilka and Patiala were placed under curfew last night. Z category security provided to the godman was withdrawn. The Union Home Ministry has told the Haryana government that Judge Jagdeep Singh should be provided highest level of security in view of the violence after the conviction of Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in a rape case.

Meanwhile army has entered the Dera headquarters in Sirsa. The Congress has said that the chaos is a failure of the state to maintain law and order and demanded the resignation Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar.