Published On: Sun, Sep 10th, 2017

Dera HQ search ops day 2: Secret tunnel connecting Ram Rahim’s ‘gufa’ to sadhvis’ hostel found

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Police with recovered cartons of firecrackers and explosive materialsSIRSA : In a major breakthrough, security agencies on Saturday found a tunnel and a passageway connecting Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh’s quarters to the hostel of his female disciples during the second day of the massive sanitisation exercise carried out inside the Dera Sacha Sauda’s headquarters in Sirsa. Among others findings, an illegal fire cracker factory and chemicals were also unearthed during the search on the sprawling 700-acre walled compound under the supervision of retired sessions judge AKS Panwar. The search was conducted days after the Dera chief was sentenced to 20 years of imprisonment following his conviction in two rape cases.

“A window-shaped secret tunnel that connected Dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh’s private residence — also known as gufa or terawas— to the sadhvis’ (female disciples) hostel was found during the search,” said Satish Mehra, state Information and Public Relations Department Deputy Director.

According to Mehra, a passageway which opens to ‘Sadhvi Niwas’, (where his female disciples were kept), was found from the gufa (cave) where the Dera chief used to reside. “A fibre tunnel too has been located during the search of the dera,” he said, adding: “The derawas is connected to Sadhvi Niwas.”

 The two victims, who had mustered courage to speak out against the dera chief, had told the court that the self-styled godman had raped them inside the gufa of the dera. Mehra also disclosed that an empty box for cartridges of AK-47 was recovered during the ongoing search operation and that the illegal fire cracker factory has been sealed besides registering a case under the Explosives Act.

As per sources, the sanitisation process could take a couple of days to finish due to the enormity of the area. Several blacksmiths have been hired to break the numerous locks inside the dera and over 40 companies of central forces accompanied by sniper dogs have been deployed to keep a strict vigil on security inside and outside the dera. Curfew will remain to be enforced in areas surrounding headquarters in Sirsa till search operations last.

On the opening day of this exercise, an unregistered luxury car and some banned currency notes were seized from the dera besides recovering hard disk drives and unlabelled medicines. The search operation was being carried out by hordes of police, paramilitary and civil administration personnel on the direction of Punjab and Haryana High Court. These developments comes in the wake of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh’s conviction and the subsequent violence by his supporters which left 38 people dead.

In addition, fire tenders, heavy earth moving machines and tractors have also been pressed into service for the sanitisation exercise.

The premises of the Dera comprise of educational institutions, markets, a hospital, stadium, recreational areas and houses. The self-styled godman also has some shops in the complex selling consumer products which he had launched two years ago under “MSG” brand.

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