Punjab CM Amarinder Singh blames Khattar Government for violence, Haryana CM blames anti-social elements
Amarinder slammed the Haryana government for allowing the situation to escalate and pointed that trouble could have been averted had the Dera supporters been stopped from aggregating in one place.
CHANDIGARH: Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh blamed the Haryana Government for the violence unleashed by the lakhs of supporters of Dera Sacha Sauda chief who was convicted of rape today. The Haryana government did little to prevent supporters from gathering in Panchkula where a CBI court convicted the self-styled ‘godman’ on Friday.
Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar, however, shifted blame and said it was anti-social elements that were responsible for the violence.
Amarinder slammed the Haryana government for allowing the situation to escalate. He pointed out that trouble could have been averted had the Dera supporters been stopped from aggregating in one place.
“The Haryana government should have stopped trains and buses from reaching Panchkula, just as Punjab had done,” he said.
“ As an administrator, I would not have allowed such a large crowd to gather,” said Amarinder said, adding that it is difficult to control a large hysterical crowd once it is allowed to accumulate. Preventive and precautionary measures should have been taken in time, he said, emphasising that it was the responsibility of any state government to maintain law and order.
Sukhpal Singh Khaira, Leader of Opposition in Punjab, severely condemned the violence in Haryana and Punjab, in which at least 30 people lost their lives, vehicles were burnt and properties damaged. “Nobody is above the law of the land and the Constitution. People of this country must respect judicial verdicts and not take the law into their hands. Violence is not the answer to any problem, situation or a court verdict,” he said.
In the same breath, Khaira castigated the Haryana and Punjab governments for failing to maintain law and order after the verdict against the Dera chief was pronounced. He said state governments had full information about crowds pouring in and should have anticipated their likely reaction to the court verdict, but failed to handle the situation effectively.
Kiran Choudhry, Leader of the Haryana Congress Legislature Party, flayed the BJP Government for abdicating its responsibility and leaving the people to the care of goons” during the violence that rocked Panchkula that resulted in the deaths of many and injuries to hundreds.
She said it was the third such occasion when the Khattar Government has badly let down the people. The way things happened point to the total failure of the state government which has developed a penchant for playing truant when required to be in action.
“The Khattar Government should take charge, control the situation and give adequate compensation to the kin of the dead and those injured. I appeal to the people to keep calm and help maintain peace and brotherhood,” she said.
“Restoration of peace and harmony should the first priority now. Many questions have been raised about the government but they can be discussed later on,” said former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda.
The Haryana Chief Minister, however, chose to claim that the violence was the result of anti-social elements, who he claimed got mixed up with the followers of the Dera Sacha Sauda.
“Strict action is being taken against these persons. No one is above the law and strict action will be taken against anyone who tries to take the law into his hands,” he added.
Khattar and his ministers have been seen associating with Gurmeet Ram Singh, who has several other cases, including that of murder, pending against him, apart from the rape case he was convicted for today. Previously published photographs of Khattar, BJP ministers and the Dera chief sharing a stage have been doing the rounds on social media.
Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal said the State government should remain vigilant and ensure such incidents are not repeated. He said the government should call for more paramilitary forces if needed.
The police, paramilitary forces and army personnel who deployed to keep the peace were clearly outnumbered and overwhelmed by the over 1.5 lakh supporters of Ram Rahim Singh, who had been allowed to gather and camp on the roads and parks in Panchkula.