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Image: IANS

Chandigarh, Sep 16 (IANS) The hearing in two separate murder cases against Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh and others began here on Saturday in a special CBI court amid tight security.

While seven accused in the murder cases were present in the court in Panchkula, adjoining Chandigarh, the jailed sect cheif took part in the hearing through video conferencing from the District Jail in Sunaria near Rohtak.


Singh has been lodged in the Rohtak jail following his conviction in August in two rape cases.

Tight security arrangements, including para-military forces and Haryana Police personnel, were seen in Panchkula town, especially around the court complex in Sector 1.

Security arrangements were tightened around the prison complex near Rohtak and in Sirsa district, where the headquarters of the sect are located.

The cases, related to the murder of Sirsa-based journalist Ram Chander Chhatrapati and former Dera manager Ranjit Singh, allegedly by functionaries and followers of the sect were listed for final arguments on Saturday in the court of special CBI judge Jagdeep Singh.

Final arguments in the murder case of journalist Chhatrapati are being held on Saturday.

The same court had, on August 25, convicted Ram Rahim on two counts of rape of his female disciples. He was sentenced to 20 years of rigorous imprisonment by the CBI court on August 28.

Haryana Director General of Police B.S. Sandhu had said on Friday that adequate paramilitary and Haryana Police personnel had been stationed in Panchkula in view of the murder case hearing.

However, this time, no Dera followers assembled in Panchkula ahead of Saturday’s hearing, unlike the rape case hearing where over one lakh followers had converged in the town and had indulged in large-scale violence after his conviction.

Chhatrapati was shot at in October 2002. He died in November, after battling for life in a hospital for a few days.

Former Dera manager Ranjit Singh, who was believed to be privy to a number of wrong things going on inside the sect headquarters, was shot dead in July 2003.

The sect chief is an accused in both murder cases, along with other accused, as these were carried out allegedly at his behest.

Ram Rahim’s conviction in August in the rape cases led to violence in Panchkula and Sirsa in Haryana, leaving 38 people dead and 264 injured. Isolated incidents of violence were also reported from Delhi and several other places in Punjab. (source:IANS)


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Killer Smog in Delhi.

Developed by the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune, a Decision Support System (DSS) that extends the ability of the existing air quality early warning system (AQEWS) to have decision-making capability for air quality management in Delhi-NCR was launched on Tuesday.

The website for the DSS (https://ews.tropmet.res.in/dss/) is designed to help the Commission for Air Quality Management for NCR and Adjoining Areas (CAQM) by delivering quantitative information about the contribution of emissions from Delhi and its 19 surrounding districts; the contribution of emissions from eight different sectors in Delhi; and the contribution from biomass-burning activities in the neighbouring states.

These information would assist in managing the air quality in a timely manner, a release from the Ministry of Earth Sciences said.

The need was stated by the CAQM, which was formed by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, during a meeting held in January 2021.

Recently, the Commission reviewed the progress made by IITM and had in principle approved the current version of DSS for air quality management in the Delhi-NCR. The IITM has also developed a new website for DSS with the entire system made operational, the release said.

Union Minister of State for Earth Sciences, Jitendra Singh, while launching the website for AQEWS on the occasion of 'Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav' week organised by the Ministry of Earth Sciences, said, "DSS is a significant contribution to 'Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav' on behalf of MoES and IITM and suggestions are invited on this issue."

The website also has a feature whereby the users can create their own emission reduction scenarios (from 20 different districts, including Delhi) so as to examine the possible projected improvement in air quality in Delhi for the next five days.

"This information would explicitly highlight the most important emission sources responsible for the degradation of air quality in Delhi and suggest possible solutions to ameliorate the same. With a plethora of quantitative data, the AQEWS integrated with DSS could become a user-friendly tool for air-quality management in and around Delhi," the release said. (IANS/JB)

Keywords: Delhi, India, Pollution, IITM, Ministry of Earth Sciences