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‘It could have been much worse’: Haryana CM defends handling of Dera issue

Reported by: PTI Chandigarh 03 Sep 2017, 21:49:45 PM IST

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, who has been facing heat over his management of the Dera issue, today said the violence by the sect's supporters could have turned much worse had the government not been alert.

Khattar told reporters that the state government had taken steps after due consideration in compliance with the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

"Had the government had not been alert, the situation could have been much worse," he said in Karnal.

The Haryana government had come under attack for allowing a huge build up of Dera Sacha Sauda followers in Panchkula. Violence broke out there after Dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh's conviction in rape cases, leaving 35 people dead. Six others died in incidents of violence in Sirsa.

Ram Rahim was later sentenced to 20 years in prison. On August 30, Khattar, had ruled out his resignation after meeting BJP chief Amit Shah in Delhi, saying his government had acted with "restraint" in handling the situation.

Khattar also told reporters today that he would contest the next election from Karnal as the people of the constituency have accorded him a lot of respect. At the same time, he added he would accept whatever the party decides in this regard.

Khattar (63) is a first-time legislator from Karnal. He became the chief minister when BJP came to power for the first time on its own in Haryana in October 2014.

He said the Haryana government would also organise a programme on the completion of three years of its tenure.

"The programme would be organised on a grand scale between October 26 and November 1. The venue would be decided later by the committee concerned," he said.