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15,000 Dera Followers in Rohtak Trigger Fears of Confrontation

Dera supporters run amok in Panchkula on Friday. (AP photo)

Dera supporters run amok in Panchkula on Friday. (AP photo)

The demography of Rohtak is also something which is playing in the minds of the administration. One of the reasons behind keeping Gurmeet Ram Rahim at the Sunariya jail, is the predominantly Jat population here, who do not have too many Dera followers among them.

Rohtak: There are about 15,000 Dera Sacha Sauda supporters in Rohtak. A day before the sentencing of Dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim, state intelligence reports suggest another couple of thousands have entered the city.

While these supporters have not yet gathered at any public place yet, chances cannot be ruled out.

Sections of the administration feel that there is a possibility of the supporters being mobilized on Sunday night or Monday morning, ahead of the sentencing in Rohtak jail.

Rohtak has virtually turned into a fortress with police, para military and even the Army personnel guarding the city.

On the other hand is a highly motivated crowd of Dera supporters. They have a direct chain of command and can gather at any location on a short notice. This might ultimately lead to a confrontation.

Monday would once again be a test for the state administration, which has been facing a lot of criticism for having mismanaged the situation. Not just on Friday, the Haryana government has failed to take appropriate steps in at least three other instances.

Despite having a knowledge of earlier instances of violence during the conviction of another godman, Rampal’s convictions and the 2016 Jat agitation, lessons were not learnt to tackle the Panchkula situation. Thus, what would happen in Rohtak, is something to watch out for.

The demography of Rohtak is also something which is playing in the minds of the administration. One of the reasons behind keeping Gurmeet Ram Rahim at the Sunariya jail, is the predominantly Jat population here, who do not have too many Dera followers among them.

However, if a congregation of Dera followers indeed takes place on Monday, a caste conflict can also play out, fear state intelligence officers. Dera Sacha Sauda followers mostly come from Dalit and extremely backward communities who in Haryana have a history of clashing with the Jat community.

Hence, unlike Panchkula, that houses the crème de la crème of Haryana who rushed indoors when the Dera followers went on a rampage on Friday, things could be different in Rohtak.

Not only will the residents not step back if Gurmeet Ram Rahim’s followers indulge in arson, the situation can most likely emerge in a caste conflict, which will have a ripple effect in other parts of the state as well.

The administration must finally get its act in place on Monday and secure Rohtak enough, so that no one gets a chance to break the prohibitory orders of unlawful assembly.

After all, Dera supporters would finally get to know on Monday that their ‘Pitaji’ could remain jailed for over a decade.