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Army appeals to Dera followers to leave sect headquarters

Army appeals to Dera followers to leave sect headquarters
PTI Photo

Sirsa: Defiant followers of self- styled godman Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh today stayed put at the sect headquarters here, despite appeals by the Army and authorities to vacate the premises.

The Army, which along with police had put up barricades at entry points of the Dera Sacha Sauda premises following yesterday’s violence triggered by the rape conviction of Ram Rahim, is mulling its options, said a senior official, who did not wish to be named.

Fifteen dera followers have been arrested since last night here, police said.

“We will not spare those who have taken the law into their hands. We will take strict action against them,” IG (Hisar) A S Dillo said outside the Dera premises

An estimated one lakh people, including women and children, are present in the sect headquarters. The Army and district authorities have been making announcements through loudspeakers, asking those inside to leave the premises.

Sources said Army was last night provided with the map of the sprawling dera campus, which is spread over nearly 1,000 acres and is a township on its own, with schools, sports village, hospital and cinema hall.

Dera followers had arrived in droves here and in Panchkula ahead of the CBI special court verdict against Ram Rahim in a rape case.

After the CBI court in Panchkula convicted him in the 2002 case yesterday, frenzied Dera followers went on a rampage and clashed with security personnel.

At least 29 people were killed and 250 injured in Panchkula while two died in Sira in the violence.
After his conviction, Ram Rahim was lodged in a jail at Sunaria in Rohtak. Central forces have been deployed in that area.

The situation is tense but under control, officials maintained today.

In November 2014, a two-week tense standoff between some of the self-styled ‘godman’ Rampal’s followers and the police in Hisar had led to the death of five women and a child.

PTI