Sirsa (Haryana): Authorities on Sunday decided to continue for the second consecutive day the curfew imposed in Haryana town after violent clashes between followers of the controversial Dera Sacha Sauda sect and the Sikh community.

Although no violence has been reported in the past 12 hours, tension continues to brew between the two sides, police officials said. The clash between the Dera Sacha Sauda sect followers and members of the Sikh community left at least 12 people injured, police said. Six vehicles were also set on fire by the mobs.

The clash took place at the Valmiki chowk area of Sirsa town. The injured were admitted to various hospitals for treatment. The district administration has requisitioned 15 companies of para-military forces to help the administration maintain law and order. District officials said the curfew was imposed on Saturday evening to prevent the situation from escalating. Deputy Commissioner J. Ganesan on Sunday appealed to people not to step out of their homes during the curfew.

"Police force has been deployed all over the city to avert any untoward incident," a police spokesperson said on Sunday. Ganesan said police officials have been directed to remain in touch with the police stations to keep an eye on the situation and "take quick action against anti-social elements" if they try to vandalise public property. The headquarters of the Dera Sacha Sauda sect is located on the outskirts of Sirsa town, 300 km from Chandigarh. The sect has several million followers in Haryana, Punjab and other states.

Officials said tension had been brewing between the two sides over the past few days following some remarks made recently against the sect's head, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. The sect followers and the Sikh community have had violent clashes in Punjab in the last four years.


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