They were assigned to Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh as his Z+ security cover, but had become his followers over the years. On Friday, after the CBI court pronounced him guilty, at least five of the seven police personnel guarding the dera chief allegedly tried to free him. They have all been arrested and charged with sedition.
The five — ESI (Exempted Sub-Inspector) Krishan Das of Hisar, Head Constable Ajay of Kaithal, EHC (Exempted Head Constable) Ram Singh of Sirsa, EHC Vijay Singh of Sirsa and Constable Balwan of Hisar — are all trained commandos of the Haryana Police. They had been posted as the Dera chief’s security detail for the last eight to 12 years.
Two Punjab Police commandos, Rohit and Satvir, who were also part of Ram Rahim’s security cover, fled from the CBI court but were later arrested from Sirsa, on charges of violating the District Magistrate’s orders.
According to the FIR registered in the case, after Ram Rahim was convicted of rape on Friday, the five Haryana Police personnel tried to free him from police custody. “Pitaji ko jaane nahin denge. Apni gaadi chalao, aur in police vaalon ko kuchal do (We shall not let Pitaji go. Start our car and run over these policemen),” one of them reportedly shouted. Head Constable Ajay then tried to run over the policemen who had taken the dera chief in their custody, says the FIR. Dera Sacha Sauda followers are known to address Ram Rahim as “Pitaji”.
The five Haryana Police personnel, along with Ram Rahim’s two private PSOs (personal security officers), allegedly got into a scuffle with Inspector General of Police, Karnal range, Subhash Yadav. “They misbehaved with me and made an attempt to free the convict. I don’t want to say much in this regard as an FIR has already been registered and the Panchkula police department is investigating,” Yadav told The Indian Express.
The two armed PSOs, Pritam Singh and Khushbir, have also been arrested. Police said they were part of the conspiracy to free the dera chief. Meanwhile, the two Punjab Police personnel, armed with AK-47s and pistols, reportedly fled the spot and returned to Sirsa. But before they could enter the dera’s headquarters in Sirsa, the district police nabbed them and placed them under arrest. All the seven policemen were part of the 12-vehicle security convoy which escorted the dera chief to the CBI court Friday afternoon.
Police sources said that ESI Krishan Das, the oldest of the five Haryana Police personnel, was a follower of the dera for the last 12 years. His parents and family are also known to be dera followers. Sources added that the other four Haryana Police personnel had become Ram Rahim’s followers at least five years ago. “They started following Ram Rahim’s teachings. It is not known if their families had also become the dera’s followers,” said a senior police officer.
The two Punjab Police personnel, on the other hand, were reportedly Ram Rahim’s followers even before they were assigned as part of his security cover about a year back. Their parents are also reported to be dera followers. Both Rohit and Satvir, originally part of the Bathinda police, are currently in the Sirsa police’s custody. The Panchkula police said their involvement in the conspiracy to free the dera chief was also being probed.
A senior officer told The Indian Express that despite repeated orders to report back to Bathinda, Rohit had refused to return, and told the security branch head that he would like to continue to be assigned to the dera chief. The last reminder to return to Bathinda was sent to him on August 22.
Inspector General of Police (Bathinda range) Mukhminder Singh Chhina has contacted Sirsa district police to ascertain the role of the two Punjab Police personnel. The Haryana Police have also initiated a probe to find out how their personnel turned into “dera bhakts”.