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A 'youth brigade' was formed several days ahead of the verdict in the rape case against the Dera Sacha Sauda chief to "trigger violence" in Punjab if the judgement goes against Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, a senior Punjab Police official said today.
The plan to "indulge in arson and rioting" in Punjab was found during an investigation conducted by the Punjab Police.
Following the conviction of Ram Rahim, there were 28 incidents of arson, besides damage to state, central government offices or properties in seven districts of the Malwa region in Punjab.
"Almost 15 days ahead of the court verdict, a youth brigade which was to be called 'A team' was formed to trigger violence in Punjab if the court judgement goes against Dera Sacha Sauda chief. It was decided in a meeting," Sangrur SSP Mandeep Singh Sidhu told PTI today.
The police have also identified the main accused allegedly involved in arson and rioting in Sangrur.
They have been identified as Duni Chand, Prithi Chand and Bittu, the SSP said adding that they were absconding.
As many as 12 incidents of violence were reported from Sangrur district only following the conviction of Dera Sacha Sauda sect head, police said.
"We have arrested 23 persons including a woman in connection with arson and rioting," SSP said.
Sangrur Police assessed property damage of worth Rs 23.72 lakh during violence in Sangrur district.
The property damaged included power gird, telephone exchange and sewa Kendra, he said.
Sangrur Police has also assessed an expenditure of Rs 85.17 lakh for making security arrangements which included expenditure related to paramilitary forces and police force in the district.
"We shall submit the detail of expenditure to the state government in order to recover from the Dera," SSP said.
Minutes after the sect head was convicted on Friday, his followers who had gathered in thousands over past few days in Panchkula, unleashed mayhem. 38 people died and over 250 were injured in the violence which broke out at Panchkula and Sirsa after Ram Rahim was convicted.
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