Mobile internet services have been suspended in Haryana’s Sirsa district till September 10, as security personnel and district officials began searched inside the Dera Sacha Sauda headquarters on Friday morning. An order issued by the Haryana government’s Home Department said 2G, 3G, 4G, CDMA and GPRS, SMS services and all dongle services on mobile networks will be suspended.
Curfews were imposed in areas surrounding the headquarters, and the prohibitory orders will not be relaxed till the search ends, ANI reported.
As many as 41 paramilitary companies, four Army columns, police officers from four districts, one Special Weapons and Tactics team, a dog squad and a bomb squad have been deployed for the search operation. Authorities have also taken 10 blacksmiths along to assist in the process.
So far, a few computers, hard disks and cash have been seized, Deputy Director of the Haryana Public Relations Department Satish Mehra told reporters. “A few rooms have also sealed, and a forensic team has been called in from Roorkee.”
Plastic coins with the words Dhan Dhan Satguru Tera hi Asara, Dera Sacha Sauda Sirsa inscribed on them were recovered too.
The search is being conducted under the supervision of retired Judge Anil Kumar Singh Pawar. The Punjab and Haryana High Court had appointed Pawar the court commissioner to search and sanitise the Dera headquarters after the Haryana Police seized a cache of 33 licensed weapons from the premises.
Meanwhile, Dera spokesperson Vipassana Insan has appealed to the sect’s followers to maintain peace because the “Dera has always followed the law”.
Dera Sacha Sauda had allegedly spent Rs 5 crore to incite violence on August 25 after a CBI court in Panchkula convicted its chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in two rape cases. The Special Investigation Team is believed to have found that money meant to provoke agitations was sent to Panchkula and several places in Punjab. The Dera followers who protested after the court’s verdict were also promised compensation by the organisation’s leaders in case of loss of life.
Ram Rahim Singh was sentenced to 20 years in jail for raping two female followers in 2002. The police were criticised for inefficiency after 38 people died and over 250 were injured in the violence that erupted after the verdict.