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HC asks Centre to provide more forces ahead of Dera chief 

Chandigarh, Aug 24 (IANS) As thousands of followers of Dera chief Ram Rahim descended on Panchkula, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday asked the Centre to provide additional forces ahead of the judgment in a rape case against the self-styled godman.

The High Court, acting tough against Haryana for its apparent “failure” to maintain law and order, took the call ahead of the special Panchkula CBI court’s verdict on Friday.

The court’s observation came when the petitioner’s counsel Ravinder Singh Dhull said more than 1.5 lakh Dera followers have already reached Panchkula city despite prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC.

Apprehending violence in case the court’s judgment went against the sect chief on Friday, a Division Bench of acting Chief Justice Surinder Singh Saron and Justice Avneesh Jhingan said they “did not want a situation similar to the Jat reservation stir”.

Without mincing words, the judges were categorically clear in saying the High Court could initiate action against the Director General of Police in case the state failed to ensure security.

Directing the Centre through the Home Secretary to provide forces, the bench asked it to make its own assessment of the situation.

The bench also questioned the Police Commissioner of Panchkula on plans to stop sect followers from reaching Panchkula.

“The entire effort is directed at making the court premises secure. The problems haunting the common men are ignored,” the bench observed.

Additional Solicitor General Satya Pal Jain apprised the High Court about the deployment of paramilitary forces.

A lawyer on Wednesday moved the High Court, seeking directions to Haryana to make adequate security arrangements ahead of the pronouncement of the verdict.

The High Court listed the matter for next hearing on Friday.

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