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More than 30 Dera centres sealed

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CHANDIGARH/SIRSA: In what can be termed as a big crackdown, the Haryana government has sealed more than 30 congregation centres of the Dera Sacha Sauda across the state even as it came under attack from the high court regarding violence that claimed 36 lives.

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According to officials, four rifles, including an AK-47, pistols and petrol bombs were among the weapons seized from the supporters.

On an expected note, the conviction sparked violence and arson, more so in Panchkula and Sirsa, police said. Two cases of sedition were also registered against Dera followers, it added but did not give details.

Facing criticism from all quarters over the violence, the Haryana government suspended Ashok Kumar, the Deputy Commissioner of Police in Panchkula, alleging that his “defective” prohibitory orders allowed the crowd build-up in the district.

The situation in Haryana remained tense but under control even as the state government said there was no report of fresh violence in the state today.

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Meanwhile, the Sirsa district administration has decided to give a relaxation in the curfew from 6am to 11am on Sunday after no violence was reported by Dera followers in the area today, a state government official said.

The official said shops will be allowed to open during the curfew relaxation period.

Petrol pumps, banks, shops were closed in the area in view of the curfew.

In a related case, the state government sacked its deputy advocate general for “accompanying” Ram Rahim after his rape conviction yesterday by a CBI special court in Panchkula.

The state government terminated the services of DAG Gurdas Salwara on the recommendations of Advocate General Baldev Raj Mahajan.

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“It is found that yesterday the DAG accompanied the baba,” Mahajan said.

“Thirty-six people have died, out of which six casualties are in Sirsa and remaining are in Panchkula,” DGP B S Sandhu said this evening.

“Over thirty ‘Naam Charcha Ghars'(congregation centres) in various districts have been sealed,” Haryana’s additional director general of police, RC Mishra said.

Punjab police told mediapersons that ‘lathis’, rods, axes etc were also recovered from 98 Dera centres spread across the state.

“We have recovered one AK 47 rifle and one Mauser (pistol) from the vehicle of a Dera follower and two rifles and five pistols from another vehicle during the operations,” Sandhu said. As many as 552 persons have been arrested in connection with the violence and further investigations are underway, he added.

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