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Dera verdict: Curfew-like restrictions in Chandigarh, Panchkula

Official sources said no public or private bus or any transport vehicle is allowed beyond Ambala

IANS  |  Chandigarh 

Curfew-like restrictions in Chandigarh, Panchkula ahead of Gurmeet verdict
Followers of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim gather at a park in Panchkula on Wednesday, ahead of the court judgement in a sexual exploitation case against him. Photo: PTI

Just a day ahead of the crucial judgment in a rape case against Sacha Sauda sect chief Gurmeet Singh by a special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in adjoining in Chandigarh, curfew-like restrictions were imposed in both cities on Thursday.

Nearly two lakh sect followers have already descended on and its nearby places from across the two states and its neighbouring areas.

Taking precautionary measures to discourage more followers from reaching Panchkula, Haryana Roadways has stopped plying buses bound for and

Official sources said no public or private bus or any transport vehicle is allowed beyond Ambala city, 45 km from

Haryana Chief Minister has advised all ministers and legislators to remain stationed in their constituencies till August 25, the day of the verdict.

"Directions have been issued by Khattar to all the party MLAs to meet the Dera' followers in their respective constituencies and convince them to not to resort to violence in case the court verdict goes against Gurmeet Singh," a senior Haryana Minister told IANS.

Suspense still prevailed on Thursday on whether the sect chief would appear in court on Friday.

Dera chief's counsel S K Garg told reporters: "The health of Gurmeet Singh has improved now. He was unwell for the quite some time."

As a precautionary measure, the administration has declared a three-day holiday from Thursday in all schools in

Likewise, the Haryana government has closed all colleges and libraries in Panchkula district till Friday.

In Punjab, prohibitory orders have been imposed and all schools and colleges in the state would be closed on August 25, a government spokesperson told IANS in Chandigarh.

He said a complete ban has been issued on carrying of firearms, with orders to shut down the private gun houses selling arms and ammunition to license holders, till the situation normalises.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, who reviewed a security meeting in Chandigarh on Wednesday, directed authorities to withdraw 1,000 police personnel from VVIP security and deploy them to strengthen security in the state.

Haryana Additional Chief Secretary Ram Niwas said the government would also call the Indian Army, if the need arises, and even impose a curfew.

Exhorting the sect followers to keep faith in judiciary, he said directions have been issued to all Deputy Commissioners and Superintendents of Police to initiate preventive steps according to the intelligence inputs being received.

A riot control room has been set up in Panchkula.

The Special Central Bureau of Investigation court in Panchkula has asked the sect chief to appear in the court on the day when it pronounces its verdict. The hearing in the case has been going on since 2007.

The sect chief, who has lakhs of followers in Punjab, Haryana, and other states, has been accused by a former female follower of raping her more than once inside the sprawling Dera campus on the outskirts of Sirsa town in Haryana, 260 km from Chandigarh.

First Published: Thu, August 24 2017. 17:05 IST