Rajinder S Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service
Panchkula, July 30
In another blow to the Haryana Government, a local court has acquitted six more followers of the Dera Sacha Sauda in another case in connection with last year’s riots that ensued after the cult’s leader Gurmeet Singh Ram Rahim was found guilty of rape.
A local court acquitted Kaithal resident Hoshiar Singh, Sangrur residents Sanga Singh, Gyani Ram and Tarsem, Muktsar Sahib resident Ravi Kumar, and Karnal resident Ram Kishan of charges of damaging Haryana State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission’s property in Sector 4 near Hafed Chowk—the epicentre of last year’s violence.
They were charged with rioting and damaging public property under sections of Indian Penal Code, as well as Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, on December 2.
A local court had acquitted six followers of the cult of rioting charges in another related violence case on May 1, 2018. The court was critical of the prosecution for not having proved the charges: documents accessed by The Tribune had even showed that the six men had not even been identified.
Then, on July 19, the court dropped sedition charge against 19 Dera followers.
Violence erupted in several parts of the Punjab and Haryana, especially in Panchkula, on August 20, 2017, after Ram Rahim Singh was found guilty of having raped two of his followers. The violence not only left 40 dead—most of them followers of the sect—and scored wounded, but also led to large scale destruction of public property, forcing Punjab and Haryana High Court to make excoriating comments about Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar government’s handling of the situation.
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