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Panchkula calm but tense, locals express anguish; toll at 36

 Security forces remained on high alert today in Panchkula as an uneasy calm prevailed in the district, the epicentre of yesterday's violence triggered by the rape conviction of self-styled godman Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.
The violence that claimed 36 lives has left locals in shock and anguish, with many questioning why the authorities failed to assess and control the situation in time.
"We have been living in a state of terror. Yesterday and over the past few days we have been wondering if this is Panchkula or a city in some war-torn country," a youth, who resides here, said while recalling the ordeal.
Curfew had been clamped at several places in Haryana and Punjab after the violence and officials said that relaxation had been given at most places this morning to allow people to buy essentials.
Flag marches were being conducted at many places in the two states by the forces including the paramilitary, officials said.
After his conviction, Gurmeet Ram Rahim was lodged in a make-shift jail at Sunaria in Rohtak amid tight security.
In Panchkula, 29 people had died and over 250 were injured after the Dera Sacha Sauda followers went on a rampage. Over 60 police personnel including two IPS officers were also injured.
"Situation is tense, but under control now," a senior official said today.
Residents, who had virtually locked themselves in their houses yesterday after the Dera followers set afire vehicles and government property and clashed with the security forces, called it a nightmare.
"How could thousands of people arrive here despite prohibitory orders under Section 144," said the youth.
Another resident, a senior citizen, said he had never seen anything like this before in Panchkula, a peaceful city overlooking the Shivalik hills in the backdrop.
Army jawans conduct a flag march amidst curfew after their deployment near Dera Sacha Sauda in Sirsa.


Précis 2017
From asking his party men to ‘live a simple life and serve the people’ to taunting the BJP for its ‘crocodile tears’, Chief Minister and BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik has not only become politically invincible, he seems to be so in the coming years too.


* India successfully test-fires supersonic interceptor missile


* Support for terrorism to be stopped: India at UN


* Dalmia DSP launches new TV campaign


* Sudhir Mishra's 'Daasdev' set to arrive on February 16


* “Nalco to invest Rs 35,000 cr in Odisha, good governance key to company’s success”


* Tata Steel Bhubaneswar Literary Meet from Jan 11
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