CHANDIGARH: As many as 22 columns of army were deployed on Thursday night to maintain law and order after scores of Dera Sacha Sauda followers thronged Chandigarh and nearby areas despite prohibitory orders. The orders were imposed ahead of Friday’s verdict on rape-accused Dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.
Director general of police Haryana B S Sandhu said, “We requested the army to maintain law and order, after which it sent 22 columns in the state. Twenty of these columns will be deployed at Panchkula and two at Sirsa by Thursday night,’’ he said.
The decision came after the High Court rapped the state government for its failure to stop assembly of such a large number of followers despite imposition of the prohibitory orders. The HC asked the police to remove the followers from gathering here and appraise it about the action taken.
Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh also authorized the DGP to impose curfew if necessary. Singh said the Western Command of the army had been put on standby to tackle any eventuality arising out of the judgement, expected on Friday afternoon.
Apart from the army, more than 15,000 paramilitary personnel was deployed in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh. In addition to that, mobile internet and data services across the three areas have been suspended for 72 hours.
Ram Niwas, additional chief secretary (Home) Haryana, said that the decision to suspend mobile internet services and data services was taken at a coordination-committee meeting of Haryana, Punjab and the union territory (UT) held under chairmanship of the Punjab governor and UT Administrator, V P Badnore, at Punjab Raj Bhawan during the day.
A joint-control room of Haryana and Punjab would be set up at Control Room, Sector-9, Chandigarh, where a police officer from both states would be deployed for effective coordination between the police forces to maintain law and order.
Niwas also said that a request was made to the Ministry of Railways to stop all passenger trains coming to Chandigarh for two days. Buses of Haryana Roadways coming to Chandigarh and Panchkula have already been stopped for two days.
The additional chief secretary said, as per earlier orders, Section 144 had been imposed in every districts and carrying of any kind of weapon had also been prohibited.
Ten senior IPS officers were deployed and two general-level additional directors have also been appointed to ensure peace. In addition, 10 duty magistrates have been appointed at various locations. Action was being taken by the civil and police administration on the basis of intelligence inputs as and when received, he added.