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You let Panchkula burn for political gains: HC to Khattar govt

The Khattar govt surrendered to the situation, the court said.

BS Web Team  |  New Delhi 

Vehicles burn in violence following Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim’s conviction in Panchkula (Photo: PTI)

The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Saturday pulled up Haryana government over violence by Dera Sacha Sauda followers, saying the Khattar govt surrendered to the situation. "You (Haryana government) let Panchkula burn for political benefits," the court said.
Directing the state to verify a newspaper report on alleged instigation by the sect leaders, the High Court directed the registration of a first information report (FIR) against the instigators "if the reporter stood by his report".

The High Court bench of Justices S.S. Saron, Surya Kant and Avneesh Jhingan, in its resumed hearing, asked the state about its plans to sanitise the Dera Sacha Sauda located in Sirsa town, some 260 km from here, which is reported to still have thousands of followers inside.

Getting tough, the judges also slammed state Education Minister Ram Bilas Sharma for having recently given a grant of Rs 51 lakh to the Dera.

The judges directed the Deputy Commissioners of Punjab and Haryana to provide a list of Dera properties and told them not to sell or transfer the properties.

The court also sought a status report on the deaths in the violence.

A CBI court in Haryana's Panchkula town, adjoining Chandigarh, on Friday held the Dera chief guilty of rape and sexual exploitation of two women followers in 2002, sparking widespread violence by his followers. The security forces opened fire to control the mob.

At least 31 people, 29 of them in Panchkula town, died in the violence, and 250 others were injured.

Vehicles and property were also damaged and set on fire by the unruly Dera followers.

First Published: Sat, August 26 2017. 13:37 IST