Punjab and some parts of Haryana are on high alert, ahead of the scheduled verdict by a CBI court in Panchkula on August 25 in a rape case against Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.
While Punjab’s Director General of Police Suresh Arora visited most vulnerable districts, the office of DGP (Law and Order) issued an alert to district police chiefs, IGs and DIGs across the state saying, “It has come to the notice that Dera Sacha Sauda Sirsa premise have started storing petrol, diesel in drums at Naam Charcha Ghars in district Faridkot. They have stored sharp-edged weapons and stones on the roof of Naam Charcha Ghars.”
The letter said after the verdict on August 25, devotees can use petrol and weapons to harm/destroy the government/public properties. “You are therefore directed to deploy sufficient manpower and to make adequate law and order arrangements to ensure that all necessary steps including preventive and precautionary are taken so as to ensure nothing untoward takes place,” it says.
“We are in touch with suppliers of petrol, diesel, and other inflammable material and have asked them to inform us in case bulk purchases of such materials are made,” said Patiala Zone Inspector General A S Rai.
Citing intelligence reports that dera followers have apprehensions that verdict can go against the dera chief and there may be jubilation among radical Sikhs that may lead to the clash between dera followers and Sikhs, Punjab had sought 256 companies of central forces for deployment in Punjab from August 21 to 31. 75 companies were made available to Punjab.
The sexual exploitation case was registered against the Dera chief in 2002 by the CBI on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court after anonymous letters were circulated about the alleged sexual exploitation of two female followers. Singh was accused of raping them inside the Dera campus on the outskirts of Sirsa town in Haryana. The charge sheet in the case was filed by the CBI on July 30, 2007. The Dera chief has denied these charges.