Sirsa (Haryana): Curfew was relaxed in Haryana's Sirsa town on Monday by the district administration to enable residents buy essential commodities.

Sirsa Deputy Commissioner J. Ganesan said that curfew was being relaxed from 6.30 pm in view of the normal conditions in the town, 300 km from Chandigarh.

The deputy commissioner patrolled the markets and interacted with people. Curfew was imposed on Saturday evening, and paramilitary forces were deployed in Sirsa on Sunday to help Haryana Police maintain law and order after violent clashes between followers of Dera Sacha Sauda, a sect founded in 1948 as a centre for spiritual learning, and the Sikh community.

Seven companies of paramilitary, including the Central Reserve Police Force and the Rapid Action Force, were deployed in Sirsa. A flag march was also taken out, with police and district officials.

The town was sealed since Saturday evening, and no vehicles were allowed to either enter or leave. Ganesan appealed to people not to believe rumours. He said that he had met prominent people of the town to help bring the situation under control. While all government offices in the town remained closed on Monday, educational institutions, including schools, colleges and other institutions, would remain closed till Wednesday.

Nearly 2,000 Dera Sacha Sauda followers have been booked for Saturday's violence, which left at least 12 people injured. Six vehicles were also set on fire. The clash took place at Valmiki Chowk in Sirsa town. The headquarters of the Dera Sacha Sauda sect is located on the outskirts of Sirsa town.

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's followers and the Sikh community have had violent clashes in Punjab in the last four years.


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