Panchkula violence: Court drops attempt to murder, sedition charges against 53 Dera followers
Additional Sessions Judge Rajan Walia said mere stone-pelting could not be called attempt to murder.
A Panchkula court has dropped attempt to murder and sedition charges against all 53 followers and officials of the Dera Sacha Sauda in a case related to clashes in the district on August 25, 2017, the Hindustan Times reported on Monday. Violence had broken out in Panchkula after Dera Sacha Sauda chief Ram Rahim Singh Insaan was pronounced guilty in rape cases.
The court said the prosecution’s assertion that the Dera followers pelted stones cannot be seen as an attempt to murder, as the stones had not injured any police personnel enough to be a danger to their lives.
The court also dismissed the sedition charges. “Overt acts, such as collection of men, arms and ammunition, itself do not mean that they are waging a war,” the court observed according to The Tribune. It said there was a difference between a riot and waging war, as the purpose and intentions of the actors differ.
Additional Sessions Judge Rajan Walia also said in the order that the prosecution had not obtained permission from the state or central government to file sedition charges, which is mandatory.
Around 40 people died and over 250 were injured in the violence that erupted after Ram Rahim was pronounced guilty. He was later sentenced to 20 years in prison.