Chandigarh: After a rap from the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the police on Thursday night started a massive exercise to evict over two lakh followers of Dera Sacha Sauda sect chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh from Panchkula and Chandigarh, ahead of Friday’s court verdict, even as the Army is to be deployed in Panchkula.
Director General of Police B.S. Sandhu told reporters that as per the directive of the High Court the police started the drive to take the ‘dera’ followers, who were gathered in large numbers, out of Panchkula.
He said the 20 columns of the Army from the western Command will be deployed in Panchkula late on Thursday night along with the paramilitary and state police forces to handle any exigency.
“We will take the dera followers to the nearby places. The High Court directed the counsel for the dera chief to make an appeal to his followers to vacate the place ahead of his appearance in the court,” he added.
Sandhu said the law and order situation in the city was under control.
On the sect chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh’s appearance in a special CBI court in Panchkula on Friday, he said: “He is likely to appear in the court at 2.30 p.m.”
Fearing violence by the huge mass of ‘dera’ supporters gathered at Panchkula where the court is based, officials announced several other restrictive steps even as the sect chief appealed to his followers to maintain peace.
Nearly two lakh sect followers have descended on Panchkula and nearby places mostly from across Punjab and Haryana.
A Central Bureau of Investigation court in Panchkula will pronounce its verdict in the rape case against Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh on Friday. The court has asked the sect chief to appear in the court.