National News

‘You let Panchkula burn for political gains’: High Court criticises Haryana government

The court held Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar directly responsible for the chaos and the violence.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Saturday criticised the Manohar Lal Khattar government as well Prime Minister Narendra Modi for inaction over the number of casualties that took place after Dera Sacha Sauda chief Ram Rahim Singh was convicted on Friday for raping a devotee. The court held the Haryana chief minister directly responsible for the chaos and accused him of protecting Dera Sacha Sauda.

“You let a city like Panchkula burn for political gains,” the court said on Saturday, according to NDTV. It further questioned the government why it couldn’t stop more than 1.5 lakh followers of Ram Rahim from gathering at Panchkula.

“He is not the prime minister of the Bharatiya Janata Party, but of India,” the court added, according to NDTV.

“Administrative decisions were paralysed because of political decisions,” the High Court told state Advocate General Baldev Raj Mahajan, according to The Indian Express. “The chief minister is the home minister. Why have you allowed people to assemble for seven days?”

The High Court asked the government to submit a detailed plan on seizing the Dera Sacha Sauda headquarters in Sirsa and its other branches. It said the sect’s property should be seized to pay for the damage the followers have caused in the state, NDTV reported.

Haryana BJP incharge Anil Jain said 36 ashrams of Dera Sacha Sauda across the state have been sealed, while the headquarters in Sirsa was vacated, ANI reported.

Army will not enter Dera Sacha Sauda headquarters

The Army said it will not immediately enter the headquarters of Dera Sacha Sauda in Sirsa. “We are focusing on the maintenance of law and order presently,’ General Officer Commanding, 33 Armoured Division, Rajpal Punia said in a press briefing. The army has set up barricades at entry points of the Dera premises.

Earlier in the day, the Army, along with the Rapid Action Force and police personnel, had approached the headquarters where over one lakh people have gathered to protest the court’s verdict. The district administration and the police on Saturday also sealed two ashrams of Dera Sacha Sauda in Kurukshetra district of Haryana.

No VIP treatment for Ram Rahim Singh: Haryana government

Ram Rahim Singh is lodged in the District Jail at Sanoria near Rohtak. Haryana Chief secretary Depinder Singh clarified that Ram Rahim Singh was not being provided special treatment. “He was taken in a helicopter [to the jail] purely on security considerations,” Singh said. “The helicopter was arranged by the Haryana government... The moment Ram Rahim Singh was arrested, his Z-plus security stood automatically withdrawn.”

Ram Rahim won’t be brought to Panchkula for his sentencing: Police

The Haryana Police on Saturday said Ram Rahim Singh will not be brought back to Panchkula on Monday for the hearing of his sentencing, IANS reported. “The sentencing will either be done through video conferencing or, if required, the court will be held at Rohtak prison,” Haryana Director General of Police BS Sandhu said.

Rajnath Singh meets top security officers

Meanwhile, a high-level meeting was held at the residence of Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and was attended by Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi, National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and the intelligence bureau chief. “In the ongoing situation we can’t blame anyone, the directorate general has assured us that the matter is under control,” Mehrishi told the reporters after the meeting, according to India Today.

Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah held a meeting with Jain at party headquarters in Delhi to discuss the law and order situation in Haryana, ANI reported.

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