Dera Sacha Sauda followers today started leaving the sect's headquarters in Sirsa, where they had gathered in large numbers before the rape conviction of self-styled godman Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, a senior police officer said.
The police and the administration have been making regular announcements through loudspeakers, urging those inside to vacate the sprawling premises, even as they kept a close watch on proceedings.
"Dera followers are leaving the headquarter campus in small groups. We hope it will be vacated peacefully," Deputy Superintendent of Police(DySP), Sirsa, Dilip Singh said.
The violence following conviction of the Dera head Gurmeet Ram Rahim in a rape case, by a special CBI court in Panchkula yesterday, resulted in four deaths and injuries to 58 Dera followers in Sirsa.
The Army, along with the police and paramilitary forces, has put up barricades at entry points of the Dera premises.
An estimated one lakh people, including women and children, are present in the sect headquarters. The sprawling campus is spread over nearly 1,000 acres and is a township on its own, with schools, sports village, hospital and cinema hall.
Earlier, a senior Army officer had said there were no immediate plans to enter the Dera headquarters to vacate it as maintaining law and order was the priority in Sirsa.
"There is no plan so far to enter the Dera headquarters here. We are focusing on maintenance of law and order presently," General Officer Commanding(GOC), 33 Armoured Division, Maj General Rajpal Punia said in a media briefing.
Curfew has been clamped in the town and the situation is being closely monitored by the police, army and paramilitary personnel on the ground, officials said.
2 companies of Army and 10 companies of paramilitary forces, besides local police have been deployed. Locals have been asked to stay indoors by the police. Fifteen Dera followers have been arrested since last night here, police said.
"We will not spare those who have taken the law in their hands. We will take strict action against then," IG (Hisar) A S Dillo said outside the Dera headquarters.
Dera followers had arrived in droves here and in Panchkula ahead of the CBI special court verdict against Ram Rahim in a rape case. After the court in Panchkula convicted him, frenzied Dera followers went on a rampage and clashed with security personnel. Twenty-nine people were killed and 250 injured in Panchkula.
After his conviction, Ram Rahim was lodged in a jail at Sunaria in Rohtak. Central forces have been deployed in that area. Situation is tense but under control, officials maintained today.
In November 2014, a two-week tense standoff between some of the self-styled godman Rampal's followers and the police in Hisar had led to the death of five women and a child.