Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Wednesday said Z-plus security cover has been provided to Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh based on the threat perception.
If a prisoner, whether lodged inside jail or out on furlough, faces a threat, it is the government’s duty to provide security to him, the chief minister said.
According to officials, Singh was given the Z-plus security cover by the state government during his 21-day furlough due to a “high-level threat” to his life from pro-Khalistan elements.
Singh, who is serving a 20-year jail term for raping two of his women disciples in his ashram in Sirsa, was released on furlough on February 7 from Rohtak district’s Sunaria jail.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an event in Panchkula, Mr Khattar said, “A person is given security on the basis of threat perception.” Whether a prisoner is lodged in jail or out on furlough, it is the government’s job to ensure his security, he said.
“It is not that he demanded Z-plus security… till the time he faces the security threat, providing security is our job,” he added.
The chief minister said when the government feels that there is a change in Singh’s threat perception, his security will be reviewed accordingly.
A recent communication from a senior Haryana Police official to the Rohtak Range commissioner on Singh’s threat perception stated, “He faces a high-level threat from radical Sikh extremists in India and abroad.” “There are reliable inputs regarding the threat to Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh from pro-Khalistan activists,” the official communication said.
Home Minister Anil Vij denied having any knowledge of the official communication.
“No such report has come to me nor has any such file gone through my office, so I have no information,” he said replying to reporters’ questions here.
The Dera Sacha Sauda chief is currently staying at his Gurugram ashram and has been kept under heavy security.
He was granted furlough just days before the February 20 Assembly polls in Punjab, where his sect has a large number of followers, particularly in Bathinda, Sangrur, Patiala and Muktsar.
Earlier, Mr Khattar had denied any link between Singh’s furlough and the Punjab polls, saying it was a coincidence.
Besides the rape cases, the Dera Sacha Sauda chief was convicted with four others for hatching a conspiracy to kill a Dera manager in 2002.
In 2019, Singh and three others were also convicted for the murder of a journalist over 16 years ago.