While leaving it to the Centre to decide on ordering a probe into Friday’s Dera violence, Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh on Sunday said no compensation would be given by his government to law breakers from his state who were killed in the Panchkula carnage in the wake of the court verdict against Ram Rahim.
The Chief Minister said this while interacting with media-persons during his tour of nearly a dozen areas in some of the sensitive districts in Malwa region of Punjab, which witnessed sporadic incidents of violence in the wake of the court verdict against the Dera Sacha Sauda chief Ram Rahim on Friday.
Responding to a media query during the course of his visit, Amarinder said it was for the Centre to take any decision on ordering a probe into the collapse of law and order that led to the anarchy and violence in Panchkula and other parts of Haryana, Punjab and Delhi on Friday. He was asked if the central government should order an inquiry into the breakdown of law and order.
Making it clear that it was a matter to be decided by the central government, he reiterated that the main cause of the trouble was allowing such a large crowd to gather in Panchkula ahead of the court verdict. This had led to the carnage in which, of the 24 bodies identified so far, 11 victims each were from Haryana and Punjab and one each from Rajasthan and Uttarakhand.
Captain, in reply to a question, welcomed the Prime Minister’s strong condemnation of the Dera violence and expressed the hope that the central government would tackle the criminals who indulged in violence with an iron hand. Nobody can or should be allowed to disturb the law and order of any state or region in the country, he added.
Responding to another question, he said that the Haryana Chief Minister had made no attempt to get in touch with him even though the Punjab intelligence agencies were regularly providing their counterparts in the neighbouring state with all inputs.
While giving a free hand to the police to crack down on potential trouble makers ahead of the sentencing of rape convict Ram Rahim, he made it clear that his government was fully geared up to maintain peace in the state at all costs.
To another question, Amarinder said that while his government was preparing a list of the damage caused to public and private property, there would be no compensation for those who took the law in their hands and indulged in violence. The list of damaged property would be submitted to the Punjab & Haryana High Court for recovery of compensation from the Dera, as per the court’s directions.
He later said 45 preventive arrests have been made so far under sections 107/151 in the seven districts of the sensitive Bathinda zone, which was considered the base of Dera supporters in Punjab.
A total of 23 FIRs have been registered, with 30 arrests, he said, adding that 62 petrol bombs had been seized. The police have also recovered a 12-bore gun with a dozen cartridges and a .22 revolver with 28 cartridges, said the Chief Minister, expressing satisfaction that the situation in the region was under control and there was no sign of panic among the people. Day curfew in the area had been lifted and the district administration would again review the situation at night, said Captain Amarinder.
Besides Mansa, where he started his tour from Kotli Kalan, the Chief Minister toured the areas of Maur, Bhatinda, Balluana (Bathinda Rural), Gidderbaha and Malaout, where he met the people and security forces to thank for ensuring complete law and order amid the mounting tension on Friday. He also inquired about their well-being and asked if they were facing any problems due to the prevailing circumstances. He expressed his gratitude to the Punjab police and paramilitary forces for their commendable job and distributed fruit to the men and women maintaining vigil.
In Bathinda Rural, the Chief Minister visited the Balluana railway station damaged in the violence and spoke to the staff members, who gave him a first-hand account of the developments of Friday. They described to Captain Amarinder how armed men broke into the railway offices and damaged windows, computers etc, before making an abortive attempt to set the station afire.
Captain said there had been no fresh incident of violence in Punjab after Friday’s minor cases of attack on property and vehicles by Dera supporters. Captain Amarinder said eight people from Punjab were killed during the mayhem in Panchkula.
There was no loss of life in these incidents in Punjab, he reiterated, adding that the situation in the state was completely stable. He directed the district administration and police to ensure that there is no disruption of peace in the region and all steps are taken to maintain law and order.
The Chief Minister was accompanied by his Finance Minister Manpreet Badal, PPCC president Sunil Jakhar, Media Advisor Raveen Thukral, Chief Principal Secretary to CM Suresh Kumar, Principal Secretary Tejveer Singh, DGP Suresh Arora, Director General Intelligence Dinkar Gupta, and Political Secretary to CM Captain Sandeep Sandhu.