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Day 1 of Dera headquarters search ops in Sirsa ends; operation to resume tomorrow morning

The search operation comes after directions by the Punjab and Haryana High Court to this effect

Reported by: India TV News Desk, Sirsa [ Updated: September 08, 2017 20:34 IST ]
Team comprising district admin, police, security personnel
Team comprising district admin, police, security personnel enter Dera's Sirsa HQ

Search and sanitisation operations in Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda headquarters in Sirsa began on Friday. A team of Haryana Police and local administration led by retired District and Sessions Judge AKS Pawar entered the sect premises at around 8 am today. The search operation follows directives to this effect by the Punjab and Haryana High Court to the government. The court had appointed Pawar as the judicial officer and asked him to supervise the operation of Dera headquarters spread in two campuses, 600 acres and over 100 acres each. The searches were scheduled for Wednesday but were deferred till today.

The development comes 14 days after the conviction of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmit Ram Rahim for raping two of his female followers.

As it happened on September 09:

06:50pm- Search operations over for the day, to begin tomorrow morning

06:22pm- 1500 pairs of shoes, over 1000 stylish clothes seized from Dera headquarters

06:12pm- Police seizes Ram Rahim’s bullet-proof ‘Lexus’ SUV 

5pm: Two minors among five kids rescued from Dera headquarters, reportedly from Ram Rahim's secret cave 

3pm:  I donated money to Dera Sacha Sauda and not to the Baba (Gurmeet Ram Rahim), we took utilization certificate also: Anil Vij, Haryana Minister

2pm: All internet, mobile, dongle, SMS services suspended in Sirsa till 10th September. Voice calls to continue. Pharmacy medicines without label/brand found, OB Van, Lexus car without number also found: Dy Director Satish Mehra on Dera HQ search


11:40am: Several hard discs have been seized, huge quantities of old currency recovered from Dera premises, Search operation continuing  

11:10am: Some computers, hard disks and cash seized. Few rooms also sealed. Forensic team has been called from Roorkee: Dy Director Satish Mehra 


09:55am: The Dera newspaper, while defending the action of the Dera management in burying the human remains, said this was done as the sect chief encouraged followers to donate the remains to the sect for burial and prevent these from being immersed in rivers, causing pollution: IANS

09:40am: Hours before the search operation began, the sect's mouthpiece "Sach Kahoon" on Thursday admitted that human remains were buried inside the premises, reports IANS

09:30am: Court commissioner AKS Pawar has reached Dera and search operations have begun.Situation is normal: Dy Director (Info& PR Dept) Satish Mehra

09:00am: JCB machines enter Dera premises. At least 10 locksmiths have also been called in. The entire search operation is being videographed

08:25am: Dera spokesperson Vipassana Insan said Dera has always followed law. “Appeal followers to maintain peace,” she said.

08:20am: Besides the police and administrative officials, the team that has entered the Dera headquarters includes SWAT commandos, officials from the forensic department, banks and Income Tax authorities. Dog squads are also part of the search operations and bomb squads are on standby.

08:15am: Dera officials have been informed that no movement to and from the premises will be allowed during the course of the operation. 

08:05am: The sprawling 700-acre Dera headquarters has been divided into 10 sectors for the search operation. All roads leading to the headquarters from Sirsa and nearby places were sealed.

08:00am: A convoy comprising teams from the district administration, police and security personnel enter the Dera headquarters in Sirsa

Around 5000 Haryana Police personnel, 40 Swat Commandos and 41 companies of central paramilitary forces were stationed outside the sect premises. Bomb disposal and dog squads have also been stationed near the Sirsa headquarters.

The sprawling Dera headquarters houses a stadium, hospital, educational institutions, a resort, houses, markets, and other infrastructure. Huge bungalows of the sect chief (spread over nearly 100 acres) and his family members are also located inside.

Curfew in the area around the Dera premises was relaxed for one hour on Wednesday to enable people inside and outside the sect campus to buy essential items.

​"We are cooperating with the local administration. All weapons of the Dera and individuals inside (the premises) have been deposited with the authorities. We have nothing to hide. The premises can be searched anytime," Vipassana had said on tuesday.

Authorities in Haryana have carried out sanitisation of 117 'Naam Charcha Ghars' associated with the Dera, where its followers assemble for prayers and discussions. Weapons and other objects that could be used in violence were seized from the campuses.

Ram Rahim was convicted by a CBI special court in Panchkula on August 25 for the rape of two female disciples in 1999. His conviction led to wide spread violence within hours of the verdict in Panchkula and Sirsa in Haryana, leaving 38 people dead and 264 injured.

Isolated incidents of violence were also reported from Delhi and several other places in Punjab. He was sentenced to 20 years of rigorous imprisonment on August 28.

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