Mayhem after Dera chief’s conviction exposes Haryana govt’s lack of preparedness.
Both state, Centre are to blame
The Manohar Lal Khattar government’s incompetence has been thoroughly exposed with the absolutely inexcusable dance of violence and open rioting on the streets, creating a virtual martial law-type situation, following the conviction of the Dera Sacha Sauda chief for rape last week. This despite the fact that both the state government and the Centre was fully aware for days in advance that trouble could erupt, and yet they acted like impotent spectators. While the blame lies squarely primarily at the door of the state government and the chief minister, both the Centre and the Prime Minister can’t escape responsibility. In any sensitive democracy, comments far less severe than those passed by the high court on the state government would have led to apologies, resignations and complete acceptance. Here it’s had the opposite effect, despite the fact that no one can remember such severe strictures in the recent past. In three years of BJP rule, there have been 72 deaths in police-public clashes in Haryana, including the 36 since Friday. Is this the “success” Mr Khattar is patting itself on the back for? This kind of sheer brazenness, insensitivity, obstinacy and arrogance shows the attitude of BJP leaders and the government.We have seen senior Haryana ministers giving generous grants of Rs 51 lakhs recently to the Dera. The Haryana government purposely misled everyone on the number of cars in Gurmeet Ram Rahim’s convoy. It appears this was a political surrender to pander to a votebank. Proper checks should have been imposed at places when people were leaving for Panchkula from their villages. The Panchkula district administration should have more strict and not allowed people to assemble. If one looks at the turn of events, there’s no doubt that Haryana allowed such a situation to develop.What is interesting is that it isn’t the first time such lawlessness has been seen under the Khattar government. First, when Baba Rampal was being evicted from his dera, large-scale violence erupted across the state. Then came the Jat agitation, and it was the Khattar government’s inefficiency and obstinacy that led to large-scale destruction of property, life and limb. And we have all seen what has just happened. It was known to all that the judgment was expected on Friday. All of us knew dera followers had started marching towards Panchkula, where the verdict would be delivered. Two to three days before the verdict, the streets of Panchkula had swelled with the dera’s supporters. What was the Khattar government doing? Practically nothing. Either they were complicit in letting such a gathering take place, or they are incapable of handling the situation.
Either shows the administration very poorly. In contrast, in neighbouring Punjab, there was no loss of life. Chief minister Amarinder Singh was on top of the situation, and ensured that peace prevailed. He remained in constant touch with the district administrations to ensure that Punjab does not burn. Mr Khattar’s Haryana government, on the other hand, was found wanting on all counts.
The writer is an AICC member from Haryana
Might of the State prevailed
It is absolutely wrong to say that the Haryana government, or the Centre for that matter, had failed on the law and order front in the wake of the CBI special court verdict on Dera Sachha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. The fact that the violence was curbed within 24 hours, over 1,000 miscreants were arrested with heavy deployment of paramilitary forces and normality restored, bringing the Dera chief to tears, seeking pardon, show how the might of the state prevailed over organised gangs and brazen hooliganism.
The Prime Minister also tweeted within minutes of the conviction that violence in any form would not be tolerated.
In fact, it is only because the BJP is in power both in the state and at the Centre that such quick delivery of justice was possible. The CBI was given a free hand to investigate, raids were conducted at the gangster’s premises, and a lesson was taught to all those claiming to be religious leaders and indulging in macabre crimes. As the BJP stayed out of playing politics and extending privileges to those on the wrong side of the law, a criminal was exposed.
The dera is in reality a Congress creation. In polls after polls, the Congress used the dera to fight the Akalis, who were in alliance with the BJP. The Congress looked the other way when Ram Rahim amassed wealth, extended his area of influence and carried out intimidation, blackmail and criminal activities. The rape case against Ram Rahim was registered in 2002. Members of the family which had exposed the crime and the journalist who had reported it were killed in cold blood, their families harassed constantly for over a decade - all under the Congress’ watch. Why was action not taken then? Why were the cases allowed to be dragged on for over 15 years?
The BJP, on coming to power, acted swiftly. No patronage or protection was extended though the dera had supported the BJP in the 2014 elections. Then dera chief was then not a convicted person and his support was being competitively sought by all political parties. Is it not a fact that in the last Assembly election in Punjab in May, both the Congress and AAP assiduously wooed the Dera and gained its support? After some initial hobnobbing, the dera realised that the BJP would not compromise on principles. The party had refused to help the dera get its film cleared without the censor running his knife or help to get it released as they wanted despite the opposition from Sikh leaders. The BJP has shown that it will not barter public safety for political gain. The party, if it wanted, could have used the delaying and stalling tactics which the Congress brazenly did all these years. But ostrich-like ducking of issues is not in the style of the BJP. We confront them head on and ensure the national interest and the public good.
The writer is a member of the BJP central committee on training, and the committee on publications