Under fire for its poor handling of the law and order situation in the wake of the massive violence unleashed by Dera supporters, the Haryana government on Saturday suspended a senior police officer for a “grave mistake” in the prohibitory order issued ahead of the court verdict on the Dera chief.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Ashok Kumar, an Indian Police Service (IPS) Officer of the 2007 batch, has been suspended.

Haryana Additional Chief Secretary, Home, Ram Niwas told media here that the police officer has been suspended owing to a “grave mistake”.

Sources said that Kumar had issued the order under Section 144 of Cr.PC (Criminal Procedure Code) imposing prohibitory orders in Panchkula district before the verdict.

However, the order did not specify that assembly of four or more people in Panchkula district was prohibited.

Kumar’s suspension comes after the Punjab and Haryana High Court took the BJP government in Haryana led by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar to task for abdicating its responsibility in containing the assembly of thousands of Dera followers in Panchkula town, adjoining Chandigarh, days ahead of the August 25 court verdict against the sect chief.

The High Court has come down heavily on the Khattar government for not doing enough to prevent the violence and not taking adequate action when the violence started. The court even questioned the political will of the Khattar government in dealing effectively with the situation.

The CBI special court in Panchkula on Friday convicted the DSS chief of rape and sexual exploitation of two female disciples in 2002. The sentence will be announced on Monday.

Following the court verdict, Dera followers resorted to violence which left 31 people dead and nearly 250 injured. 

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