Dera Sacha Sauda Mouthpiece Admits to Skeletons at Premises, Says They Were Donated
People earlier associated with the sect, have alleged that the sect chief got those who opposed his activities killed and buried inside the 70-acre campus of the sect.
Chandigarh: Dera Sacha Sauda’s mouthpiece ‘Sach Kahoon’ admitted on Thursday that human remains were buried in the sect’s premises. The admission came hours before authorities and security agencies launched a search and sanitisation operation inside the sprawling Dera Sacha Sauda headquarters campus near Sirsa town in Haryana.
The Dera newspaper, while defending the action of the Dera management in burying the human remains, said this was done as sect chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh encouraged followers to donate the remains to the sect for burial and prevent these from being immersed in rivers etc., causing pollution.
The newspaper claimed that the human remains were buried within the campus and trees were planted on these.
Some persons, who were earlier associated with the sect but left it later, have alleged that the sect chief got killed those who opposed his activities and got them buried inside the 70-acre campus of the sect, IANS reported.
Security agencies and district authorities began search operations at the Dera headquarters on Friday amid tight security and curfew in the area.
The search, which is being video-graphed, is being conducted under the supervision of court commissioner AKS Pawar appointed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
Senior district administration and police officers, along with para-military forces and Haryana Police, were involved in the operation around the sprawling 700-acre campus.
Duty magistrates have been appointed for various zones of the Dera. Officials from police, revenue, health, education, tourism and other departments have also participated. Bomb disposal squads, commandos, dog squads and locksmiths were deployed.
All roads leading to the headquarters from Sirsa and nearby places were sealed.
Ram Rahim was convicted on two counts of rape of disciples in 1999 by a CBI special court in Panchkula on August 25. He was later sentenced to 20 years of rigorous imprisonment and is currently lodged in the District Jail at Sunaria near Rohtak.
His conviction led to violence in Panchkula and Sirsa in Haryana, leaving 38 people dead and 264 injured. Isolated incidents of violence were also reported from Delhi and several other places in Punjab.
Security was tightened around the Dera headquarters near Sirsa town on Wednesday following the approval granted by the Punjab and Haryana High Court to the state government to search and sanitise the premises. The search, to be supervised by a court commissioner, is likely to begin on Friday.
Retired District and Sessions Judge AKS Pawar, who was appointed as the Court Commissioner by the High Court on Tuesday to oversee the search and sanitisation operation of the Dera premises, arrived in Sirsa on Thursday.
The Dera is spread over two campuses, 600 acres and over 100 acres, about eight km from Sirsa town and 260 km from Chandigarh.
Armed security personnel from central paramilitary forces and the Haryana Police were stationed outside the Dera premises. Bomb disposal squads and dog squads have also been stationed near the Dera premises.
Dera administration chairperson Vipassana, who is a close aide of the sect head, said the Dera management was fully prepared for the conduct of the search and sanitising operation.
"We are cooperating with the local administration. All weapons of the Dera and individuals inside (the premises) have been deposited with the authorities. We have nothing to hide. The premises can be searched anytime," Vipassana said.
The Haryana government had sought the High Court's permission to undertake sanitisation under judicial supervision.
Authorities in Haryana have carried out sanitisation of 117 "Naam Charcha Ghars" associated with the Dera, where its followers assemble for prayers and discussions.
"Some objectionable items were seized during searches at their premises following the arrest of convicted Dera chief," Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said on Monday.
The sprawling Dera headquarters houses a stadium, a hospital, educational institutions, a resort, houses, markets and other infrastructure. Huge bungalows of the sect chief (spread over nearly 100 acres) and his family members are also located inside. Hundreds of people and sect followers permanently live inside the mini-township and work there.
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