Self-proclaimed religious leader Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh has been given Z-plus security cover, PTI reported on Tuesday. He will now be protected by 10 National Security Guard personnel while travelling, and two to eight guards while at his home.
“There are reliable inputs, regarding the threat to Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh from pro-Khalistan activists,” the Haryana Police has informed Rohtak Range commissioner in an official communication, according to the news agency.
Singh, who is serving a jail term Haryana’s Rohtak district after being convicted in separate cases of rape and murder, was granted a 21-day furlough earlier this month. The chief of the Dera Sacha Sauda sect was released on February 7 after the Haryana government decided that he did not fall in the category of “hardcore prisoners”.
Singh is currently staying in Haryana’s Gurugram city, according to The Tribune. The Haryana government granted the top-tier security cover to Singh on his request.
The Dera Sacha Sauda chief has received paroles on earlier occasions too, but they have been short-term ones – from sunrise to sunset – to meet his ailing mother.
The religious leader’s release has been seen as a significant development ahead of Punjab Assembly polls. He enjoys a significant influence in several Assembly seats in Punjab, which voted on February 20.
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, however, said that the furlough has nothing to do with elections. He stressed that the Dera chief received furlough according to the provisions.
Singh and four other were sentenced to life imprisonment in October by a special Central Bureau of Investigation court in Haryana’s Panchkula town for the murder of a former manager of the sect. He is also serving a 20-year term in Rohtak’s Sunaria jail for raping two of his followers.