Dera HQ search operation LIVE UPDATES: Illegal explosives factory found inside premises; fire crackers seized

Dera HQ search operation live updates: "Explosives and fire crackers have also been seized," said Haryana's Information and Public Relations Deputy Director, Satish Mehra.

Sirsa: Security forces stand guard at the main entrance to the Dera Sacha Sauda headquarters, in Sirsa district of Haryana on Friday, ahead of the search operations inside the premises.

An illegal explosives factory has been found inside the headquarter of the Dera Sacha Sauda premises in Sirsa, after forces continued search operation for the second day on Saturday. The factory has already been sealed. Haryana’s Information and Public Relations Deputy Director, Satish Mehra said that fire crackers and explosives were also seized. “Explosives and fire crackers have also been seized,” said Mehra. Earlier, the Haryana Police had arrested at least three Dera Sacha Sauda followers for hatching conspiracy of trying to help Gurmeet Ram Rahim escape from Panchkula during agitation. Singh is in jail after being convicted for rape.
On Friday, a luxury car without a registration plate and old currency notes were seized from the headquarters. In a mammoth search operation being carried out by security forces and district authorities, some rooms were also sealed and hard disk drives and unlabelled medicines recovered, Mehra said. The exercise is being conducted amid tight security by police and paramilitary personnel, besides senior officials of various government departments.

Dera Sacha Sauda headquarters search operation LIVE UPDATES:

12.00 pm: Two key functionaries of Dera Sacha Sauda were arrested for allegedly inciting violence in Panchkula, says police. “Chamkaur Singh, who is the incharge of Dera Sacha Sauda centre in Panchkula and Daan Singh, who is also a key Dera functionary, have been arrested from Chandigarh,” says Panchkula Deputy Commissioner of Police Manbir Singh.

11.30 am: The dera has been divided into ten zones for the purpose of sanitisation and searches, with each zone under the control of a senior officer.

10.45 am: Heavy security at Satnam Chowk in Sirsa as search of Dera Sacha Sauda headquarter continues


9.45 am: Illegal explosives factory has been found inside the Dera Sacha Sauda premises. It has been sealed. Explosives and fire crackers have also been seized, said Deputy Director of Haryana PR Dept, Satish Mehra

8.55 am: Haryana Police arrest three Dera Sacha Sauda followers for hatching conspiracy of trying to help Gurmeet Ram Rahim escape from Panchkula during agitationSirsa: An earth mover vehicle, that was used by the search team, heads towards Dera Sacha Sauda in Sirsa on Friday, ahead of the search operations inside the headquarters. 

Saturday

7:58 pm Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh would be killed by inmates if left alone without security, such is anger against him: Somu Pandit, Rohtak jail inmate on bail

6:00 PM: Five people have been found, including two minors. Have recovered one walkie-talkie: Mehra

5:55 pm Forensic Team from Roorkee has entered Dera Sirsa Headquarter: Deputy Director of the Haryana Public Relations Department Satish Mehra

3.00 pm: Haryana minister Anil Vij said he had donated money to the Dera Sacha Sauda and not to its chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, who was sentenced to 20 years of imprisonment following his conviction in the rape case, ANI reported.

1:30 pm: News agency ANI showed visuals of “Gurmeet Ram Rahim’s plastic currency” which was found near Dera headquarters in Sirsa.


1:00 pm: Mobile Internet services, including 2G, 3G, 4G, CDMA and GPRS, all SMS services and all dongle services provided on mobile networks, except voice calls, in Sirsa district shall remain suspended till 23:59 hrs of September 10, the order issued by the Haryana government’s Home Department said.

12:45 pm: As the police steps up its investigation into Dera premises, followers of the sect last week alleged harassment at the hands of the police in Punjab. While some followers met with Congress leaders in Faridkot on Friday, many others met with Congress MLA Amarinder Raja Warring in Gidderbaha to tell their woes. Meanwhile, Ravinder Kumar, one of the followers, who was arrested during the violence in Panchkula following Ram Rahim’s conviction in rape case, allegedly hanged himself in Ambala jail. The 27-year old was in judicial custody at the time of his death. Jail authorities have ordered a judicial probe in Kumar’s death.

12:30 pm: The self-styled godman, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, used to invite homosexuals to join the dera to be “treated” for the “disease”. On the dera website, the forms are still available, by filling which a person commits to the “treatment. It remains unclear how many individuals actually joined the dera to seek guidance from Ram Rahim in giving up homosexuality.

12:00 pm: A look inside the Dera: There are multiple entry points inside the Dera. Security checks have been installed at every 100 metres inside the campus. At 11 am every day, a proper curfew pass, thorough vehicle checks and a few questions take place. Past one of the numerous check posts, lies MSG Battery Factory. The large iron gates of the factory remains bolted with a man stationed in the guard room. Several other factories including Sach Herbotech for Dera’s ayurvedic products, MSG apparels and Sach cattle healthcare are present in the next few km ahead.

11:40 am: Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar earlier this week had said that some “objectionable” items were recovered during the sanitisation of “Namcharcha Ghars”, the congregation centres of Dera in the state. According to Khattar, 117 of these centres were sanitised in Rewari on Monday

11:30 am: At least 180 people across districts of Bathinda and Patiala zone were arrested in cases related to violence that followed the conviction of Ram Rahim after his arrest. At least 50 FIRs were filed across these districts. Some of the arrested individuals include government employees, who were dera followers. 

11:20 am: Deputy Director Satish Mehra, speaking to media, said the search teams has recovered some computers and hard disks from Dera premises so far. “Some computers, hard disks and cash has been seized. Few rooms are also sealed. Forensic team has been called from Roorkee,” Mehra said. The content inside drives and computers is still yet to be ascertained.

11:00 am: Here is a quick recap on why the search teams focusing largely on Ram Rahim’s mysterious cave: A number of former followers of the sect has leveled complaints against Dera chief’s residence. Except for the self-styled godman and some of his closest aides, no one was allowed to the enter the “gufa”. The two women were also raped inside the “gufa” 18 years ago. Dera management has denied all the allegations and welcomed the government to scan the Dera.

10:45 am: Latest visuals from ANI show heavy security in Sirsa as the curfew in the nearby areas of Dera Headquarters is still imposed in the region.


10:30 am: With the problems on the rise for the Dera after the conviction of Ram Rahim, there is a political debate going on whether the Dera will lose its political influence in the states of Punjab and Haryana. While certain political leaders believe that the reputation of Dera chief will take a severe dent, others believe the followers may treat the conviction as a conspiracy theory to malign Ram Rahim’s image. 

10:25 am: Haryana police earlier this week had said that followers of Sirsa-headquarted Dera Sacha Sauda have submitted all the weapons. As per the police authorities, over 30 rifles and pistols with live cartridges were deposited with Sirsa district police authorities. “A total of 33 licensed arms including single barrel, double barrel guns and 9 mm pistols have been deposited by Dera followers,” Sirsa Sadar police SHO Dinesh Kuma said. 

10:15 am: The conviction of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in a rape case, prompted Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) chief Swati Maliwal to write a letter PM Narendra Modi, seeking regular inspection of religious centres housing women. Maliwal further recommended registration of ashrams with district authorities and penal action against those who fail to ensure the same. 

10:05 am: One of the reasons for the search operations, according to reports, is to ascertain the total worth of Dera assets across the state of Haryana. Currently, Haryana goverment is still tabulating the total worth, but as per preliminary assessments, the total worth of assets across Haryana could be at least Rs 1,100 crore. As per Punjab government, the dera’s assets in the state is estimated to be Rs 53 crore.

10:00 am: So, what exactly lies inside the 700-acre Dera complex? Inside the Dera, there is a heart-shaped multi-specialty hospital, along with a luxury resort housed in a ship-shaped structure. There is an inernational school with aeroplane-like towers. The entire structure of the complex is conceptualised and designed by “pitaji, Dr Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Ji Insan”. 

9:45 am: Haryana’s BJP general secretary in-charge Anil Jain, in an interview to Indian Express, said the violence on August 25 after Ran Ram Rahim’s conviction was contained within a couple of hours. Describing the administration’s efforts in controlling the violence as a “calculated risk”, Jain said, “On the night of August 24, in fact, the followers had dispersed to deceive the administration, but on August 25 the crowds swelled again. At the time if we had tried to force them out of the city, there would have been a confrontation. That would have inconvenienced the residents of Panchkula and Ram Rahim would not have left the dera. It would have been very difficult. What happened next was in consultation with me and it was a calculated risk. We thought that once the Baba moves out of the dera, his followers will return too. If you look at the August 25 incident, it was contained in two hours; the administration had taken a calculated risk.”

9:40 am: Dera managament has so far maintained that there is no “Gufa” inside the premises, which is one of the primary focus of the search. The followers have claimed that residing place of self-styled godman Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was called as Gufa. “The place where the saints used to meditate are called Gufa and in the same manner, the residence of the dera chief was called as Gufa by the dera followers. A place which is being projected as Gufa by the TV channels is actually a way to the dera resort, ” an official of dera’s media wing said.

9:30 am: After the sanitation drive of the Dera, District and Sessions Judge AKS Panwar, who has been appointed as Court Commissioner, will submit a report to the High Court and state government in a sealed cover. According to sources, the entire sanitisation drive may take a couple of days as the Dera headquarters stretches for 700 acres of land. “However, the process may take one or two days as first of all the High Court order will be sent to the Court Commissioner, who will take a call to initiate the search operation,” Haryana Advocate General Baldev Mahajan said on Tuesday. 

9:25 am: Deputy Director of Information and PR department, Satish Mehra, said Court Commissioner AKS Panwar has reached Dera premises. Speaking to reporters in Sirsa, Mehra said, “Court commissioner AKS Pawar has reached Dera premises. Search operations has begun. Situation is normal,” Mehra said.

9:12 am: Here is a quick reminder of the events that took place after the conviction of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh last month: A CBI court in Panchkula pronounced the self-styled godman as guilty in a rape case on August 25. Following the ruling, violence broke out in several parts of Punjab and Haryana. At least 39 people died while several others were injured in the violence protest carried out by Dera followers. Punjab and Haryana High Court slammed Khattar govt the next day and described its inaction as “a political surrender to allure vote bank.” The High Court further also said that the sect will have to compensate for the losses caused in the protest and asked the sect to submit a list of its priorities. Ram Rahim was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Monday.

9:10 am: JCB machine is entering Dera headquarters in Sirsa. Authorities have also called for 10 blacksmiths inside the headquarters as the search continues, news agency ANI reported.

9:00 am: According to officials, personnel from anti-bomb squad and 40 commandos of the “Special Weapons and Tactics” (SWAT) team and dog squad will also be deployed. CRPF, Sashastra Seema Bal, Rapid Action Force and BSF teams are also employed in Sirsa. Officials further added that aerial surveillance will be maintained during the sanitisation.

8:40 am: The entire sanitisation process will be videographed and overseen by retired District and Sessions Judge, A K S Panwar, who was appointed as court commissioner by the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday. Media teams will not be allowed to access the sanitsation process, Haryana DGP B S Sandhu told news agency PTI. “We have formed a strategy and are hopeful that the sanitisation process will be conducted in a smooth manner. The Dera management too has expressed willingness to cooperate with the local administration and police during the investigation,” he said.

8:31 am: According to reports, bomb squad is also accompanying officials and security personnel inside inside the Dera headquarters in Sirsa for search operation. See visuals:
8:25 am: As the security forces will sanitise the 700-acre Dera headquarters, all eyes are on the mystery surrounding the “gufa” where the Dera chief used to reside in the sect’s headquarters. The so-called “gufa” is the place where the dera chief raped two women followers 18 years ago. Around 10 years ago, the Dera chief had changed the “gufa’s” name to “Tera Vaas (Your home)”, owing to the controversy the name might elicit.

8:15 am: Vipassana Insan, a Dera spokesperson told reporters that the sect has always followed the law. Speaking to ANI on the on-going search operation in Dera’s Sirsa headquarters, Vipassana said, “Dera has always followed law. Appeal followers to maintain peace.”

7:50 am: Security forces along with officials enter premises of Dera Sacha Sauda headquarters to conduct search operation, news agency ANI reported.
7:45 am: Curfew has been imposed in areas surrounding the Dera headquarters in Sirsa. The curfew is expected to continue till the search operations are concluded.a

7:30 am: Security deployed at the main entrance to Dera Sacha Sauda headquarters in Sirsa.

Source - Indian Express

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