Chandigarh, August 28 (Wishav Warta)– Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has appealed to the people to accept the court verdict sentencing Ram Rahim to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment, while assuring that his government would continue to maintain a constant vigil to ensure that peace is maintained in the state, with curfew to remain in force till needed.

The Chief Minister was talking to mediapersons after meeting Punjab Governor VP Singh Badnore to apprise him of the law and order situation, and the steps taken by his government to prevent any breakdown of law and order in the state in the wake of the conviction of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Ram Rahim.

The Chief Minister disclosed that, in addition to the list of damaged property, the state would also file before the High Court a claim for recovery of the expenditure incurred in the deployment of central armed forces also from the Dera. The central government would bill the state, which in turn would submit the same to the High Court for necessary action, he said. The list of properties damaged in the sporadic violence was being compiled by the concerned district administrations, he added.

On the continuation of curfew, the Chief Minister said the state government will review the situation again on Tuesday before taking any decision on lifting the curfew imposed in some areas as a precautionary measure.

So far, of the 10 districts in which curfew was enforced, it has been totally lifted in five. Night curfew continues for the time being in the five districts of Mansa, Bathind, Faridkot, Barnala and Samna, and Patran sub-division of district Patiala. The Army has been deployed in two districts of Mansa and in Malout town of Sri Muktsar Sahib as a preventive measure.

While mobile data services in Punjab would be lifted tomorrow, the decision on opening schools and colleges in the sensitive districts of the state had been left to the respect DCs, said the Chief Minister, who held a high-level meeting with administrative and police officials before going to the Punjab Raj Bhawan to meet the Governor.

Replying to a question, the Chief Minister said the court verdict sentencing Ram Rahim to 10 years of jail was not a thing to be either welcomed or rejected. It was a judicial decision which everyone had to accept, he said, adding that he was only interested in ensuring law and order in Punjab.

The Chief Minister said he had briefed the Governor on the law and order situation in the state and there was no report of any violence after Friday’s sporadic incidents.

In response to a question, Captain Amarinder said he had never dubbed Haryana government a failure but had only said that allowing so many people to gather in one place was a mistake. Adequate precautions should have been taken to prevent such congregation of thousands of men, women and children ahead of the judgement on Friday, he said.

An official spokesperson said later that the Chief Minister had submitted to the Governor a detailed report on the situation prevailing in Punjab following Friday’s developments. The Chief Minister told the Governor that the state continued to be peaceful but his government was maintaining constant vigil and surveillance to ensure that no one is allowed to disturb the law and order.

The Chief Minister informed the Governor that of the 32 people killed in police firing at Panchkula on 25th August, 12 were reported to be from Punjab. The bodies of the identified deceased persons had safely reached their respective villages with no backlash or reaction whatsoever, he further said.

In his letter, the Chief Minister said there had been no firing, lathicharge or any major incident of arson and looting in the State. However, 52 minor incidents of arson and looting were reported from different parts of the State, but most of the miscreants who attempted these incidents had been arrested. There had been 60 preventive arrests in the State so far, he further said.

On the steps taken by his government to control the situation and prevent a law and order breakdown in the wake of the Panchkula court verdict, the Chief Minister said they had placed 10 cities under curfew on the afternoon of 25th August in southern Punjab, which has a large number of Dera-Premis, as a matter of abundant precaution. The curfew has been lifted in almost all cities, though constant surveillance and monitoring of the situation continues, he further said.

The Chief Minister also informed the Governor that the Army was called out on 25th night and they assisted the Civil Administration in enforcing the curfew effectively. He personally visited some of the sensitive areas, including Zirakpur, Banur, Mohali, Kharar, Mansa, Maur, Bathinda, Balluana and Malout, and met not only the general public but also men and officers of Punjab Police and central armed forces deployed at these places. Both the Punjab Police and the paramilitary forces had done a commendable job in maintaining peace in the State, he added.

Giving further details, Captain Amarinder said that “subsequent to dispersal of crowd from Panchkula, Haryana, on 25th afternoon, the District Administration, Mohali ensured safe arrival of Dera people from Punjab to reach their homes without creating any problem on the roads. “We carried out major exercise in transporting people back to their villages in over 600 trucks and buses with Police escorts,” he told the Governor, adding that while this exercise finished at 4.00 am on 26th August, a similar exercise was carried out for all those who arrived from Sirsa at the Haryana-Punjab border in Bathinda on 28th August 2017.



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