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Security tightened in Punjab, Haryana over Dera protests


Centre asks States to take severe action against those disrupting law and order

Prohibitory orders clamped down in worst-affected Sirsa district


CHANDIGARH: An uneasy calm prevailed on Sunday in parts of Haryana and Punjab, hit by violence after the filing of a fresh murder case against Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. Authorities tightened security and the Centre rushed 1,200 paramilitary personnel to the affected areas.

The police said at least 50 people were arrested in the two States and cases of arson, damaging public property and disturbing peace were filed against them. Prohibitory orders were clamped down in the worst-affected district of Sirsa, where the sect is based, and in Fatehbad, Jind and Hisar in Haryana.

Situation peaceful

Punjab Additional Director-General of Police (Law and Order) J.P. Birdi said the situation was peaceful and no untoward incident was reported. The Centre has asked the States to take severe action against those disrupting law and order.

“We have sent Central paramilitary forces, 12 companies to Punjab and Haryana to take care of the situation. Strict instructions have been given to the State governments to take severe action against those breaking law and order,” Union Home Secretary G.K. Pillai told journalists in Delhi.

He said Home Minister P. Chidambaram was aware of the developments. “We have also kept Prime Minister Manmohan Singh informed,” Mr. Pillai said.

Resenting the CBI’s filing of a murder case against Rahim Singh, sect supporters went on the rampage on Saturday setting ablaze four trains and around 37 vehicles, including 27 buses, and vandalised property in several places in Punjab and Haryana.

The sect chief, who held a religious congregation at Sirsa amid tight security on Sunday, claimed the case against him was false and that his followers were not involved in the violence as it is against their belief. — PTI

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