Indian court reprimands PM Modi over deadly rioting by godman’s followers

New Delhi (IINA) � India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi was not spared as a furious court on Saturday reprimanded the northern Haryana state and the central governments over the deadly rioting by self-styled godman Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh's followers after his conviction for rape. He is the Prime Minister of not the BJP but of India," said the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The court was responding to the centre government's lawyer saying that Friday's violence was a matter of the state. "Is Haryana not a part of India? Why are Punjab and Haryana treated like step children?" the court questioned. At least 31 people died and over 250 were injured in rioting by supporters of Singh after he was found guilty of rape. After his conviction, thousands of supporters massed near a court in Panchkula went berserk, burning cars, damaging property and targeting residents. The violence spread to other towns in Haryana and parts of Punjab states.

The court lacerated the Haryana government, saying You let a city like Panchkula burn for political gains. You let the situation escalate. You surrendered to the situation, said court.

The Haryana government has been criticized for allowing at least 1.5 lakh followers of Dera Sacha Sauda, the sect headed by Ram Rahim, to gather at Panchkula for the verdict, despite a ban on large gatherings. Chief Minister of Haryana ML Khattar had acknowledged yesterday that there were lapses. The "lapses have been identified and we are taking appropriate steps," he said last night, adding: "This should not have happened." But in another statement, he also appeared to shield Ram Rahim's followers as he said criminals had infiltrated the crowd of Dera Sacha Sauda devotees.

A CBI court in Panchkula convicted Singh in a 2002 rape case. The court said that it will announce the quantum of sentence on Monday. Following the judgment, followers of the sect and self-styled godman resorted to violence and vandalism in several parts of Haryana and Punjab to protest against the ruling. The followers said that he was falsely implicated because the government could not bear to stand his rising popularity. The followers also blamed the media of running a vicious campaign against the Dera. The violence reached parts of Delhi on Friday night and section 144 was imposed in 11 districts of the national capital. On Saturday, Delhi Police said that no violence has been reported since Friday and the situation is coming under control. India's Army, Rapid Action Force and the police entered the headquarters of the Dera Sacha Sauda in Haryana, a day after sect was convicted of rape, sparking large-scale violence by his followers.

Source: International Islamic News Agency