CHANDIGARH: The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday said the mayhem caused by followers of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh last Friday was a “war-like situation” which had to be tackled accordingly.
The court directed Punjab and Haryana governments to set up Special Investigation Teams (SITs) of three officers, headed by an officer, not below the rank of an Additional Director General of Police (ADGP), to investigate all the cases registered at various places in connection with the Dera violence.
The Dera counsel on Tuesday submitted before the court that security forces should have used rubber bullets to disperse the mob in Panchkula and not opened fire.
However, the bench of Acting Chief Justice SS Saron, Justice Surya Kant and Justice Avneesh Jhingan said, “You want the police to soft pedal. In case you are indulging in nonsense, you have to be shot.”
“You can’t go soft when some people come armed with petrol bombs and deadly weapons to indulge in arson and lawlessness,” the court said. “This was a war-like situation and it had to be fought like a war-like situation,” Justice Saron observed verbally.
Senior advocate Anupam Gupta also said that he disagrees with Dera counsel as entire Haryana would have burnt had the security forces not responded strongly to the situation. “You have to be hard in a riot-situation. When people come armed with petrol bombs, sticks and other weapons and it is an organized attack, you have to be firm. If they are indulging in riots arson and mayhem, they could be killed.” It also ordered the Haryana government to file a detailed status report regarding steps taken to sanitise Dera Sacha Sauda centres.