Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Saturday ordered an inquiry into the murder of Mohinder Pal Bittu, the main accused in several sacrilege cases and a follower of the Dera Sacha Sauda outfit. He was allegedly attacked by two jail inmates – Maninder Singh and Gursewak Singh – with an iron rod, killing him on the spot, The Tribune reported.
“Will ensure stringent punishment against assailants of main accused in Bargari sacrilege case at New Nabha prison,” Singh said in a tweet. “Have ordered fact finding probe & asked for report in 3 days. I appeal to all not to get swayed by rumours & maintain peace at all costs.”
Additional Director General of Police (Prisons) Rohit Chaudhary will head the fact-finding committee to investigate the case.
The police have filed an FIR against the two accused, according to the Hindustan Times. Four officials from the Nabha jail in Patiala – the jail superintendent, assistant superintendent and two wardens – have been suspended, Jail Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa said, adding: “It was negligence on the part of the jail administration.”
Security has been beefed up in areas where the Dera outfit wields influence as officials are concerned over the possibility of communal violence. Ten companies of the Border Security Force and two of the Rapid Action Force have been called in, NDTV reported.
Both the accused were serving life terms for murder. The weapon used in crime was procured by them from a construction site inside the jail itself, according to the The Tribune.
“The incident took place following an altercation between Bittu and the accused in the evening,” Jail Superintendent Balkar Singh Bhullar said. He added that the motive of the murder is yet to be ascertained.
Bittu was the main accused in many sacrilege incidents, including the one that took place at Burj Jawahar Singh Wala and Bargari in 2015. He was arrested by a special investigation team in June 2018 and had been in the high-security Nabha jail for the past 11 months. He was considered to be close to Dera Sacha Sauda outfit head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, who is currently serving a life term for the murder of a journalist and a 20-year sentence for the rape of two female followers.