Sangrur, Punjab: A man who is alleged to be among those who triggered violence after self-styled godman Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was convicted for rape, has been arrested, the Pubjab Police said today. The accused who has been identified as Duni Chand had gone into hiding following the conviction of the Dera Sacha Sauda sect leader.
Mr Chand was arrested at a village in Punjab's Sangrur, about 130 kilometres from Chandigarh, senior police officer Mandeep Singh Sidhu said, adding they have confiscated a car, Rs 1.70 lakh and some literature linked to the sect from the accused.
The police said days before the CBI court's verdict against Ram Rahim, an eight-member "youth brigade" was formed to trigger violence in Punjab if the judgement went against the Dera leader.
Police said Mr Chand told them that another accused who has been identified as Rakesh Kumar, and who has been closely connected with the Dera, formed the "youth brigade" to set the violence in motion in Punjab after the verdict.
Other members of the group have been identified as Major Singh and Gurdev Singh from Mansa, Balwinder Singh from Bathinda, Prithi Chand from Baghapurana, Mahinderpal Singh from Kotkapura, Gurdas Singh from Kotbhai and Gurjit Singh from Moga, police said.
Ravi Kumar, a Muktsar resident, was the leader of the group, police officer Mandeep Singh Sidhu said, adding the accused held their first meeting late at night in Haryana's Sirsa on August 17.
The eight-member team was further divided into four groups of two each and they kept in touch on phone to coordinate how they would go about inciting violence, the police officer said.
A few days before the court verdict, another meeting was held in Sirsa on August 20, police said, adding that in this meeting it was decided that they would mobilise people to reach Panchkula. On August 23 and 24, two more meetings were held to plan how they would trigger violence, police said.
When Mr Chand came to know that the police were looking for him, he kept moving between Budhlada, Barnala, Chandigarh and Jawalaji to evade arrest.
Sangrur police's assessment of property damage in the district due to the violence came to Rs 23.72 lakh. A total of 14 cases have been filed and 59 accused have been arrested so far in Sangrur, police said.
A special CBI court in Panchkula had sentenced the Dera chief to 20 years on August 28.