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HC raps Pb, Hry for allowing deras’ ‘illegal activities’

May 17, 2019 05:32 AM


HC raps Pb, Hry for allowing deras’ ‘illegal activities’


The Punjab and Haryana high court has held that “illegal and undesirable activities were allowed to proceed” by both Haryana and Punjab without any check and the authorities were shutting their eyes to wrongful activities carried on by these Deras. The high court also observed that the Haryana additional chief secretary (home)’s affidavit asserting that nothing was found inside the Deras during earlier inspections, shows the “lapse, ignorance and factum of their intelligentsia.”

Referring to Panchkula violence which erupted in August 2017 after Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda chief’s conviction in rape cases, the high court said, “The incident is a proof of illegal activities that were going on but the state failed to notice them.”

Affidavit showed outcome of search was nil, says HC

The high court observed in a stinging criticism of the two states, “There is no doubt that if the directions had been complied with as per the order passed by this court, the unfortunate incidents would not have taken place. Action taken by the respondents (Punjab and Haryana) at appropriate time would have nipped the evil in the bud. The illegal and undesirable activities were allowed to proceed without any check and the respondents were shutting their eyes on the wrongful activities carried on by the respective Deras.”

Justice Nirmaljit Kaur made the observations in the wake of a contempt petition filed by Ravneet Singh Joshi against the states of Punjab and Haryana for non-compliance of the order dated May 14, 2015. In the 2015 order, the high court had directed both the states and UT Chandigarh to periodically inspect and monitor the activities in the Deras/ashrams within their jurisdictions to ensure that no illegal activities were carried out therein.

Joshi had filed the contempt petition after August 25, 2017 Panchkula violence in which the functionaries of the Sirsa Dera were allegedly found to be involved in spreading the violence.

In response to the previous orders passed by the high court on February 5, 2019, both the home secretaries of the states of Punjab and Haryana had submitted details on Wednesday giving specific dates when they searched the Deras in their jurisdictions, along with the names of the members of such teams as also the outcome of the searches, including action taken in pursuance to the illegal activities discovered during these searches.

The high court, however, observed that a perusal of the affidavit of Haryana additional chief secretary (home) shows that the “outcome of the search was nil.”

In the affidavit, additional chief secretary (home) Haryana S Prasad had submitted that Sirsa district police had deputed an ASI-rank officer inside the Dera Sacha Sauda headquarters in Sirsa to keep an eye on its activities but nothing illegal was found there.

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