At least 38 people have reportedly died in violence that broke out following the conviction of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Insan in a 2002 rape case by the CBI court in Panchkula.
At least 250 people have been injured in the violent clashes, which saw police personnel resorting to tear gas to control the mob. A curfew was imposed in Patiala, Panchkula, Sirsa, Bhatinda, Ferozpur, Sirsa, Mansa, Muzaffarnagar and Baghpat.
Sedition, Attempt to Murder Charges Against 7 Dera Sacha Sauda Functionaries
Two key Dera functionaries have been booked for sedition on the basis of a news report, Haryana DGP B S Sandhu said on Sunday, as per a PTI report.
Addressing a press conference in Chandigarh, the top cop said the Punjab and Haryana High Court had directed the state police to verify the report carried by a Hindi daily regarding alleged instigation of Dera supporters by its five leaders. He said:
An FIR has been lodged in Panchkula police station following a statement by a newspaper reporter against two key functionaries of the Dera, namely Aditya Insan and Dhiman Insaan. The duo have been booked for sedition.
The development comes after sedition and attempt to murder charges were slapped against seven persons, including five Haryana police personnel, who were part of the Dera Sacha Sauda chief's security paraphernalia when he had arrived at Panchkula to appear in a CBI court on 25 August.
The seven security personnel of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh had allegedly tried to free him when the self-styled godman was brought outside the Panchkula Court complex on Friday, after the special CBI court convicted him in a 15-year-old rape case, police said.
Curfew Relaxed in Sirsa From 6 AM to 11 AM
The district administration relaxed the curfew for five hours in and around Dera Sacha Sauda headquarters in Sirsa, after restrictions were imposed on 24 August.
Petrol pumps, shops and other commercial establishments were allowed to open in the area.
On Saturday, several Dera followers made their way out of the sprawling sect premises after police urged them to vacate the place. Around one lakh people, including women and children, were present in the sect headquarters.
Death Toll Rises to 38
The death toll has risen from 36 to 38. Of the total, 32 are reported from Panchkula and six in Sirsa. All six deceased people from Sirsa have been identified, said Haryana DGP BS Sandhu.
Haryana DGP Assures Security for Media
Maintaining law and order will be the top priority for the Haryana police on Monday, when the quantum of Ram Rahim Singh's sentence will be announced, state DGP BS Sandhu said.
To ensure there was no repeat of violence that erupted in Panchkula last week, all routes to the Sunaria jail in Rohtak, where the self-styled godman has been lodged, have been sealed.