Dera issue: Life returning to normal in Haryana and Punjab


Educational institutions and business establishments functioned while bus services resumed on most routes in Haryana and Punjab, states which saw violence after Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh’s conviction in a rape case.

Life moved towards normal and no untoward incident was reported but the security personnel will continue to remain on an alert in both the states, officials said.

Bus services in Haryana have resumed except in Sirsa district, where curfew has been imposed around Dera Sacha Sauda sect headquarters, Haryana Transport Minister, Krishan Lal Panwar said on Wednesday.

Curfew has been lifted in Sirsa although it will continue to remain enforced on roads leading to the Dera.
Haryana Roadways suffered losses to the tune of Rs 14 crore during the violence, he said.

However, no Haryana Roadways bus, of those of private operators or those belonging to other states were damaged during the violence, he said.

Panwar, who also holds the Jails portfolio, said “Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh is being treated as an ordinary inmate and no additional facility was being provided to him. Stringent security measures have been put in place in the jail”.

The 50-year-old self-styled godman is lodged in the Sunaria jail in Rohtak district, where a thick blanket of security has been thrown around.

Life was back to normal in Sirsa city today.

Meanwhile, SP Sirsa Ashwin Shenvi said the exercise involving taking out Dera followers, who had come from other places, from the sect headquarters has been completed.

“There must be about couple of hundred people inside the Dera now who are part of its staff,” he said.

Asked about 18 minor girls who were taken out yesterday from the Dera, Shenvi said they had been sent to the Rai sports school in Sonipat district and lodged in a girls’ hostel.

The Army, paramilitary forces and police continued to be deployed at various ‘nakas’ in the Sirsa city as a precautionary measure, Sirsa Deputy Commissioner Prabhjot Singh said.

The Sirsa district administration had yesterday sent 650 people from Dera Sacha Sauda to their respective destinations.

The town is home to the sprawling Dera headquarters where the sect’s followers had gathered in large numbers ahead of Ram Rahim’s conviction.

Curfew had earlier been lifted from other towns of Haryana including Panchkula and Kaithal.

Authorities in Punjab had yesterday lifted curfew from five districts where it was imposed and train services there have also resumed.

Life in sensitive districts of Punjab, including Bathinda, Patiala and Moga where there is sizeable presence of Dera followers, remained peaceful as well, officials said.

The violence which broke out after Dera chief’s conviction in the rape case has left 32 people dead in Panchkula while six died in Sirsa, besides scores were injured.