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Haryana BJP in Charge Defends Khattar, But Will the CM Survive Dera Mayhem?

Haryana BJP in charge, Anil Jain, said that while the loss of life during the protests was sad, the Haryana government was efficient in its response and was able to arrest the violence within three hours of it breaking out.

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Updated:August 26, 2017, 8:30 PM IST
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Haryana BJP in Charge Defends Khattar, But Will the CM Survive Dera Mayhem?
Dera supporters run amok in Panchkula on Friday. (AP photo)
New Delhi: Slowly yet steadily, BJP’s defence of Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar for the handling of law and order situation after the conviction of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh is taking shape.

Haryana BJP in charge, Anil Jain, said that while the loss of life during the protests was sad, the Haryana government was efficient in its response and was able to arrest the violence within three hours of it breaking out. He said that all the 36 people who were killed in Friday's clashes were Dera supporters. The government is now vacating the sect's headquarters in Sirsa and has sealed 36 of its Ashrams across the state.

“We got the Dera chief to come to the court, especially when he has so many followers. And there was no loss of life or damage to property. But post-conviction, the retaliation and violence should not have happened and it's sad. But we were able to arrest violence within three hours of it breaking out,” he said.

Jain also denied reports that the party high command was unhappy with Khattar and rubbished rumours that he has been summoned to Delhi to explain himself. “The news of him being summoned are a figment of the media’s imagination,” the Haryana BJP chief said.

The party’s social media chief, Amit Malviya, also jumped to Khatttar’s defence. He tweeted that the Haryana administration “did well” to contain a difficult situation quickly.

“Haryana govt has done well to contain a difficult situation in less than 3hrs after conviction, yet admin is being targeted for being soft! (sic),” he tweeted.

Malviya tweeted the defence despite party leadership, maintaining a conspicuous silence of opposition's demand for Khattar's removal. The tweet is also being seen as an attempt to gauge the public outrage.

The statements come hours after the Punjab and Haryana High Court lashed out at the Khattar government, saying it allowed Panchkula to burn for political gains.

“You allowed the city to burn for political gains. It seems the government has surrendered to agitators,” the court said.

The Khattar administration has been under fire for not acting on intelligence inputs of a mob build-up in Panchkula ahead of the rape case verdict against Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. The ensuing violence on Friday killed 31 people and injured 350.

Hours after reports of violence, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, too, had given a clean chit to Khattar, saying the state governments of Haryana and Punjab did take precautions and could not be blamed for the violence. Parts of Punjab also witnessed violence, including the torching of a petrol pump, but no casualties were reported from the state.

Asked the congregation of Dera supporters was allowed in Panchkula, Singh had said, “In a democracy, how can you stop movement of people all together?”

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