Chandigarh, 26 August: The Prime Minister is of the nation and not the BJP, the Punjab and Haryana high court remarked on Saturday as riots engulfed two states after controversial “godman” Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was convicted of rape. The court made the stinging observation as the Centre and Haryana government came under scrutiny for administrative lapses after at least 31 people were killed and property worth millions of rupees were damaged in riots that broke out on Friday when the Dera Sacha Sauda sect chief was convicted.Prime Minister Narendra Modi condemned the violence and appealed for peace.But the court termed the Centre’s response to the violence “only a knee-jerk reaction”.
“Why do you (the Centre) treat the region as colonies?” asked a full bench of acting chief justice SS Saron and justices Surya Kant and Avneesh Jhingan.
“National integrity is above parties. Are we one nation or a party nation?” the court responded after additional solicitor general Satya Pal Jain argued that such violence had happened in states ruled by other parties. It also criticised the BJP government in Haryana for “politically surrendering” to the Dera Sacha Sauda, which claims to have 50 million followers across northern India and is understood to wield considerable political clout.