An Indian court has ordered strict penalty for Dera Sacha Sauda over the large scale arson and violence carried out by the followers of the organisation’s leader who was convicted yesterday of raping two women.
The Punjab and Haryana High Court ordered that the entire property of Dera Sacha Sauda should be attached for the damage after the followers of the organisation’s leader Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh went out of control yesterday evening after the verdict and carried out arson and violence that spread in Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, and to the borders of Delhi, reports NDTV.
Read more: Clashes kill 32 in northern India
The court has also ordered the police to file cases in this regard and submit a report on the violence. A hearing will be held by the full bench of the court this morning.
Dera Sacha Sauda is a social welfare and spiritual organisation with 50 million followers, popularly across Punjab and Haryana. It has a 100-acre campus in Sirsa, Haryana, and owns schools, sports village, hospital, confectionery, a spice factory, agricultural farm and a cinema hall. Political personalities, including Haryana State Chief Minister ML Khattar, have been featured by cleanliness drives organized by the sect, the NDTV report said.
Yesterday afternoon, a court in Panchkula found Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, the 50-year-old self-styled "godman", guilty of raping two women followers in 2002. Soon after the verdict, agitated followers of Ram Rahim carried out massive arson and violence in the city -- located 11 km from Chandigarh. More than a lakh of Ram Rahim’s followers had been camping out there for the last four days.
Thirty two people were killed and 250 injured in the violence that followed the conviction of Ram Rahim. The police were heavily outnumbered as they tried to control the crowd using teargas and batons, and by 5:00pm the army had to be called in to control the situation.
At least one car and a fire engine were torched in Panchkula. The media was also attacked, while several coaches of a train were torched in Anand Vihar on the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border, and a bus was set ablaze in Loni, another border area.
Earlier yesterday morning, the court had said the "forces should not hesitate to use weapons, if required", during a hearing on the situation in Panchkula. The court also said any incident of arson must be filmed in a bid to identify the culprits, and also asked for video footage to review if the property was appropriately protected.