With tension building up ahead of the sentencing of convicted Dera Sacha Sauda sect chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh on Monday, the Haryana and Punjab governments on Sunday suspended mobile internet services till August 29 (Tuesday).
Both states had suspended mobile internet services earlier on August 24 (Thursday), a day before the verdict of the CBI special court in Panchkula in the rape case against Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.
The quantum of punishment in the case would be pronounced on Monday at a special court being set up in the prison premises in Rohtak. The judge would be flown to Rohtak on Monday for announcing the sentence.
“The Haryana government has extended the suspension of mobile internet services, including 2G, 3G, 4G, CDMA and GPRS, all SMS services and dongle services provided on mobile networks, except voice calls, in the state till 11.30 a.m. on August 29,” Haryana Additional Chief Secretary (ACS), Home, Ram Niwas said here on Sunday.
On August 25, CBI special court judge Jagdeep Singh held the Dera chief, who has lakhs of followers mainly in Punjab and Haryana, guilty of raping and sexually exploiting two female disciples in 2002. The sect chief was later shifted to a prison near Rohtak town (about 70 km from Delhi).
Also, internet lease lines in the premises of Dera Sacha Sauda, Sirsa, have been suspended till August 29. Any person found guilty of violation of these orders would be liable for legal action, he said.
The ACS said the order has been issued “to prevent any disturbance of peace and public order in the state in view of quantum of punishment to be announced by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in the case of Dera Sacha Sauda Chief, on August 28”.
“The orders have been taken considering the critical law and order situation and to maintain peace and communal harmony in the state, and to prevent any loss of life or further damage to public and private property. It has been reported by IG/CID that the situation is tense and violence may again continue for several days, especially on August 28, when the quantum of punishment will be announced,” the order stated.
“Besides, it has been reported by Deputy Commissioner, Sirsa and Superintendent of Police, Sirsa that the devotees may resort to breach of peace and tranquillity, and arson leading to damage to public and private properties in Sirsa, being the headquarters of Dera Sacha Sauda. Since the environment is tense, rumours of different kinds may be spread through broadband and internet lease lines in the premises of DSS,” he added.
Directions have been issued to Haryana telecom service providers and those providing internet lease lines in the premises of DSS, Sirsa, to ensure compliance of these orders, he said.
Thirty-six people died and over 250 others were injured in violence in Haryana’s Panchkula and Sirsa towns on Friday (August 25) following the conviction of the DSS chief by the CBI special court in a rape case.
The Punjab government, also on Sunday announced the suspension of mobile internet services (2G/3G/4G/CDMA), all SMS services and dongle services till August 29.
A spokesperson of the Punjab government said this decision has been taken to maintain law and order in the state.