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High Court criticises Haryana Govt, says CM Khattar is protecting Dera Sacha Sauda

The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Saturday criticised the state government holding it squarely responsible for the violence that erupted in Panchkula on Friday eventually leading to the death of 30 people.

The High Court slammed state Advocate General Baldev Raj Mahajan and held Chief Minister ML Khattar responsible for protecting the Dera Sacha Sauda.

"You [state government] have been misleading [us]. There has been a sea difference between administrative and political decisions. Administrative decisions were paralysed because of political decisions. You have placed a DCP under suspension, but was he the only person responsible for all this? Are you trying to tell us that?," the HC asked AG Mahajan.

"CM is the Home Minister. Why have you allowed people to assemble for seven days. CM is protecting them," the HC observed.

On Friday, violence erupted in Panchkula, parts of Haryana, Punjab and even in Delhi after a CBI court convicted Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh of rape. Thousands of Dera followers, who had assembled in Panchkula, began indulging in arson and loot, burning police vehicles, media OB vans, government buildings and railway stations. 30 people were killed in clashes in Panchkula and Sirsa, the headquarters of the Dera, and over 200 people injured.

The High Court has asked the Haryana government to submit a detailed plan on sanitising the Dera headquarters in Sirsa and its other branches across the state. The HC also asked AG, Haryana to name the officer who told him that there were only five cars in Dera chief's convoy while he was being brought from Sirsa to the CBI court in Panchkula Friday.

The court also asked the Punjab and Haryana government to submit a list of the properties owned by the Dera across the states. The state was also directed to issue orders to the Dera not to alienate any of its properties till further directions of the court.