Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, who was protected by Black Cat commandos for years as part of his Z+ protection, is now guarded by three life convicts duly vetted and cleared by officials of Rohtak’s Sunaria jail. They stay with him in his cell. Now prisoner number 8647, Ram Rahim, who was convicted for rape of two women and sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment, is “slowly getting used to life in jail”, said Haryana Director General (Prisons) K P Singh.
The convicts guarding him are designated as “Convict Night-Watchmen (CNWs)”. They are “the jail’s most trusted and reliable prisoners” and are with Ram Rahim 24×7 despite their title. These CNWs report back to the barrack officer, who is a police official, who in turn reports to the jail administration. The DGP said the Dera chief was turning out to be “most disciplined and well-behaved prisoner” who follows all directions, eats his meals without a fuss, and carries out his task of gardening in a small patch outside his cell.
Every convict is allowed to talk to a family member for five minutes every day. Ram Rahim has given two phone numbers to the jail officials. Sources said one number was that of Ram Rahim’s adopted daughter Honeypreet, and was switched off, while the other was his personal number. “He must have given it to a confidant. The police officials are on it,” said an official. The DGP said Ram Rahim was in a separate “security cell”.
The Dera chief has been starting his day with two pieces of bread and 250 ml milk before heading to work, which is tilling soil, growing vegetables and watering plants on a 500-yard patch adjacent to his cell. As he works as an unskilled labourer for five hours a day, he gets Rs 20 per day. His family has been allowed to deposit a sum of Rs 5,000 per month, permitted under rules, so that he can buy eatables from the jail tuck shop.
The prescribed diet of Ram Rahim in jail is 3,170 calories. “He is having seven chapatis and dal for lunch and seven chapatis and a vegetable for dinner. He has been taking all his meals without any fuss,” said an official of the prisons department. “Today, ghiya (bottle gourd) will be prepared. Yesterday, it was bhindi (lady finger). Ram Rahim also purchases fruits from the canteen for his consumption,” the official said. The Dera chief, who has been given a white kurta-pyjama, has not been given access to newspapers as yet.
“He had asked for Bhagavad Gita, which has been given to him. Two Dera books were given by his mother during her visit. He reads that in his cell,” the DG (Prisons) said.