Dera Sacha Sauda premises steadily emptying out under security vigil

Deputy Commissioner Prabhjot Singh told PTI about 200 people, mostly Dera employees, were still housed in the new headquarters here.

Published: 29th August 2017 09:04 PM  |   Last Updated: 29th August 2017 09:04 PM   |  A+A-

Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, chief of Dera Sacha Soudha. (File | EPS)

By PTI

SIRSA: With members of the Dera Sacha Sauda living in its old headquarters having moved out, Army and security personnel are now placed by the sect's sprawling new complex which is still to be vacated by some 200 people, officials here said.

No incidents of violence have been reported from Sirsa in the last two days, the officials said.

Mobile internet services, suspended days before Dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was sentenced to 20 years of jail yesterday, have been restored, they added.

Army personnel have put up barricades around 500 metres away from the new complex of the Dera and are urging followers who are still here to leave the premises.

The new facility came up about 12 years ago as the sect's popularity grew, leading to a demand for expanded facilities.

The old complex was built by the sect's founder, Mastana Balochistani.

Deputy Commissioner Prabhjot Singh told PTI about 200 people, mostly Dera employees, were still housed in the new headquarters here.

Deputy director, information and public relations department, Haryana, Satish Kumar, said around 700 followers had left the headquarters since the morning.

"We provided buses for them so that they could return home. Nearly all of them belong to Haryana or Punjab," he said.

Eighteen girls who were in a home for minors inside the Dera premises had been escorted out, too.

The girls, however, said they were happy in the Dera and did not want to leave it, the DC said.

"The 18 girls, all minors, said they were happy and did not want to come out. However, we persuaded the Dera management and with their help took them out," Singh said.

They will be placed in juvenile homes in Haryana, the officials said.

"The girls, who come from different areas, said they felt safe inside. We found them healthy. Yesterday, 34 boys were taken out," the DC said.

Another officer said the government would put the girls in touch with their families.

The district administration is helping the followers leave for their homes by arranging buses and other facilities for them.

During the past two days, about 6,500 Dera followers have moved out of the premises and gone back home to Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and elsewhere, the DC said.

Authorities in Sirsa gave a relaxation of 12 hours in curfew from 7 AM today after no violent incident was reported from anywhere in the district.

"Army, paramilitary forces and police personnel have put up barricades a few metres away from the new Dera headquarters after crossing the older one located on the same road. The situation is normal in the area now," DSP (Sirsa) Dilip Singh told PTI.

A day after Gurmeet Singh was sentenced to 20 years in jail for raping two of his followers, peace prevailed in Haryana and Punjab.

No untoward incident was reported from anywhere in the two states after a special CBI court sentenced the 50year-old Dera chief for the 2002 rape cases.

On Friday, when the Dera chief was convicted, violence broke out in Panchkula and Sirsa, leaving 38 people dead and scores injured.

Hours before the conviction, paramilitary forces and police personnel had put up barricades on the roads leading to the Dera's old and new headquarters to prevent violent followers of the self-styled guru from spilling out to the streets.

Six people were killed and around 60 injured in and around the sect's Sirsa headquarters after the CBI court in Panchkula convicted Ram Rahim.

 

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