Chandigarh: The Punjab government has ordered the closure of all educational institutions, including government and private schools, colleges and technical institutions, in the 13 sensitive Malwa belt districts on Monday for the sentencing of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. In Chandigarh, however, schools and colleges will remain open.
According to officials, the decision was taken by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh due to the heightened tension in the wake of the conviction of the Dera Sacha Sauda chief in a rape case.
CBI judge Jagdeep Singh is expected to announce the Ram Rahim’s prison term at 2.30 pm in Rohtak on Monday. He faces a minimum sentence of seven years and it could go up to a maximum of life behind bars.
A spokesperson of the Chief Minister's office said that the Deputy Commissioners of all the 13 sensitive districts of the Malwa region - Sri Muktsar Sahib, Bathinda, Barnala, Mansa, Sangrur, Patiala, Fazilka, Ferozepur, Faridkot, Moga, Ludhiana, Mohali and Fatehgarh Sahib - have been asked to declare a holiday in the educational institutions in their respective districts to avoid any sort of inconvenience to the students due to erratic bus service and other modes of transport.
Punjab had seen sporadic violence after the conviction of the self-styled godman on Monday. While the state government had managed to curtail most of the protesters, 42 people still got injured in stray incidents.
Most of the violence had been concentrated in Haryana, where 38 people had died and 269 got injured as mob of Dera supporters went on a rampage.
The Haryana government, too, has ordered schools and colleges in four districts to remain shut as it has increased security for Monday’s sentencing. The Rohtak jail, which has been turned into a makeshift courtroom for the hearing, has also been fortified.