The recent trial and the subsequent conviction of Ram Rahim Insaan vandalised the city of Panchkula as the tense situation escalated beyond the control of Haryana’s police. The violence that erupted soon after the Godman was convicted over rape charges had the local police run for cover, literally fleeing from the fury of the mob on Friday.
Where the agitated Ram Rahim followers had a free run, destroying public and private property, burning vehicles and targeting the media, the otherwise macho Haryana Police guards ran away, leaving behind a daring young lady bureaucrat to take stock of the situation amidst all the riot and arson around.
The lady Gauri Parashar Joshi, a 2009 batch IAS officer is the Deputy Commissioner of Panchkula. The media reports that the police personnel facing the brunt of the violent mob were shaken by the advancing rioters, who were armed with sticks and sharp weapons, and were pelting stones. Sensing danger to their lives the police simply fled the scene, leaving Joshi single-handedly trying to calm down the agitators.
In the violence Ms Joshi was badly injured and even her clothes were torn. With the situation having gone out of control, the lady officer – a mother of a 11-year-old, left with a single PSO, went to her office and issued an order to hand over the situation directly to the Army. Her command of the situation helped in containing the violence.
According to Satinder Nangia, a resident of Panchkula:
“Had the Army not come in, the residential area would have scene unprecedented devastation. We have been serving the local police with tea and biscuits for last few days, but the moment the Dera followers went on rampage the local police was the first to run.”
Even after being hurt, Ms Gauri Parashar Joshi did not return home immediately. She only got home in the wee hours at 3 a.m. – after having the entire nook and corner of her city examined and ascertaining that the situation had been brought under control.
Earlier Joshi, an Odisha cadre officer, had been deputed to the the Naxal-affected district of Kalahandi. The stint helped her in tackling such a dangerous situation swiftly.
According to Betty Nangia, who saw two followers being shot down by Army just few meters away from her place as they tried to enter homes:
“Its time the patriarchal state, with abysmally low sex ratio looks up to such woman and take a lesson or two.”