CHANDIGARH: It is now clear that all 32 people who died in the aftermath of violence after Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim was convicted on charges of rape on Friday died due to firing by security forces.
The dead included four women and a child.
Sources said that the post mortem done on all the 32 dead have confirmed that they died due to bullet injuries as they were hit either on the head, in the chest or in the back by the firing of the security forces, both state police and paramilitary.
Also, the injuries faced by 267 people in the riots, were also due to firing. The seems to have narrowly escaped death, as their injuries were also gunshot wounds. A team of doctors at Panchkula hospital have completed the autopsy of all the dead.
Dr Sunil Ghambir, Senior Medical Officer (SMO) said, “All the persons who died lost their lives to gunshot wounds — most on the upper part of their bodies and few in the back. We cannot tell how many were shot in the head, chest and back, but all of them died to bullet shots.’’
He said that as far as which kind of bullets were used, only ballistic experts could tell, and samples had been sent to them. When asked about the count of the bodies from different localities, the doctor said the hospital did not have that information.
Sources said that the police and paramilitary force fired at the Dera protestors after obtaining written orders from the duty magistrates deployed with them at two points on the National Highway, near Sector 3 and at HAFED roundabout in Panchkula. All the deaths took place at these two points. The distance between both these points is approximately about one kilometre. The body of one of the injured protestors who reportedly managed to slip away from the area was found in Sector 21.
The weapons used by the security forces were SLR and Insas rifles, sources said. They fired as the dera followers went out of control and threw petrol bombs at the police and security forces and clashed with them. As a first step, water cannons were used to disperse the crowds, then tear gas shells were lobbed at them. When the crowds still refused to disperse, the security forces resorted to lathi-charge but to no avail. The security forces then fired in the air, but when things got out of control, they took the permission of the duty magistrates and gunned down members of the unruly crowd, sources said.
A temporary mortuary has been set-up on the third floor of the General Hospital in Sector 6 of Panchkula, as only four bodies could be kept in the main mortuary. The police are guarding them. As of now, 27 bodies have been identified and handed over to the family members. Five bodies are lying unidentified.
When contacted, Haryana DGP BS Sandhu said, “The Police Commissioner of Panchkula was the supervisory officer, and he has all the details as we have to file a reply in the Punjab and Haryana High Court tomorrow. Only after that we can share the information.”