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Stadium in Chandigarh to be used as a temporary jail for Gurumeet Ram Rahim Singh’s followers

Stars such as Kapil Dev, Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh trained at this cricket stadium before becoming international cricketers.

Chandigarh Cricket Stadium
Chandigarh Cricket Stadium. (Photo by RAVEENDRAN/AFP/Getty Images)

One of the iconic cricket grounds in Chandigarh will be turned into a jail on August 25. It is a ground where the likes of Kapil Dev, Yuvraj Singh, and Harbhajan Singh trained during their youth days. The police will use up the space to detain Dera Sacha Sauda followers who may pour into the city following the verdict of a rape case against their preacher Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.

Police expecting mass outrage

The cricket stadium covers an area of 15.32 acres and has a capacity of holding up around 20,000 people. According to the reports, around 10 lakh Dera followers are expected to turn up in the Union Territory on the day of the verdict. The Stadium also hosted a Test match and 5 ODIs, the last of it coming in 2007.

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“We are expecting thousands of followers to try to sneak into the city. We can’t keep such a large number of people in a lock-up and this is why we chose the stadium,” said a senior police officer. The followers will be kept in the stadium till the situation gets normal in the region. “We will bring the situation under control on the same day,” added the officer.

Ground was learning center for many future internationals

The ground has produced three World Cup winners for India. Former skipper Kapil Dev used to hone his skills as a young boy along with close friend Yograj Singh, the father of Yuvraj, who played a Test match for the country. The likes of Chetan Sharma, Dinesh Mongia, and Vikram Rajvir Singh also learned their cricket on this ground as young kids. It is the same ground where Yuvraj and Harbhajan, two future stalwarts of India, developed a friendship which still lasts till date.

Apart from this stadium, the police are also planning to use schools and other government buildings to detain the expected followers of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, who are expected to create a ruckus when the verdict is eventually announced. All borders adjoining Chandigarh and Punjab will be sealed on the day and more than 3,500 cops will be employed to take charge of the situation. The UT police have already canceled all the leaves of all cops till August 31 and have ordered the officers who are currently on leave to join back work on immediate effect.

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