Tension on Sunday prevailed in various parts of Haryana and Punjab, hit by violence following filing of a fresh murder case against the Dera Sacha Sauda chief, as authorities stepped up security measures to restore calm.
Four companies (nearly 400 personnel) of central paramilitary forces have reached Haryana for deployment in the violence-hit areas, including Fatehabad, Sirsa and Ambala, police officials said.
The situation in the affected areas in Punjab, including Moga, Bhatinda and Sangrur districts, was tense but under control, they said.
They said patrolling has been intensified while security has been beefed up at public places like railway stations, bus stations and shopping malls.
There was a report of fire in a bus early this morning in Panipat, though the police maintained that it was not related to the Dera violence.
Resenting the filing of a murder case against Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh by the CBI, sect supporters last evening went on a rampage setting ablaze four trains and around 37 vehicles, including 27 buses, and vandalising property in several places in Punjab and Haryana.
Dera’s chief spokesman Aditya Insaan had said the sect followers were not behind the violence which erupted in Punjab and Haryana after the registration of the fresh case against Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.
Last week, the CBI had booked the Sacha Sauda chief for the murder of sect Manager Faqir Chand in 1991. Besides the sect head, four others were booked by the CBI in the case.
The sect head also faces three other cases including one of sexual exploitation and two of murder of another sect Manager and a Sirsa-based journalist.
The protesters yesterday set afire a compartment each of the Ferozepur-Ludhiana Sutlej Express, the Narwana-Kurukshetra train and two local trains after asking the passengers to disembark. They also vandalised railway property at Tapa, Moga and Kalaiyat in Punjab, he said.
The mobs had torched and damaged 37 vehicles, 27 of them buses, including an air—conditioned one, in Bathinda, Mansa, Talwandi Sabo, Bhagapurana and other places in Punjab and at Kaithal, Sirsa and Fatehabad in Haryana.
In Moga, the protesters had tried to set ablaze the District Administration Complex, housing among others the offices of the Deputy Commissioner and the SSP, prompting police to fire in the air to disperse them.