Chandigarh: Jailed Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh faces many threats internationally, Haryana's Jails Minister Ranjit Singh Chautala said while justifying the heavily guarded prisoner's absence at an event inside Sunaria Jail in Rohtak where over 300 inmates were present.
The minister also clarified that he had inadvertently made a reference to the Shiromani Akali Dal while talking about some other outfits from which the sect head faced threat.
Chautala made the remarks at an event on organic farming organised for inmates on Tuesday during which he, along with Gujarat Governor Acharya Devvrat, addressed the prisoners.
After the event, Chautala, who was interacting with reporters outside the prison, was asked if Ram Rahim too was present along with other inmates.
To which he replied, "Baba Ram Rahim faces many threats internationally, from (banned terror outfit) Babbar Khalsa, also from Akali Dal, besides there are other groups also."
The 52-year-old sect head is currently lodged in high-security Sunaria Jail in Rohtak, where he is already serving a 20-year sentence for raping two of his followers.
"All these things are in the notice of the Home Ministry. Therefore, we cannot take any decision alone (on asking him to take part in events with other prisoners). He has been kept in a separate jail and is not allowed to meet other prisoners. We cannot take any risk involving his life and therefore, he was not asked to come for the event," the Haryana minister said.
However, when controversy erupted over Chautala's reference to the Akali Dal, on Wednesday he sought to clarify his remark.
"I want to clarify the thing. The Gujarat governor had to visit the prison and speak to prisoners about organic farming. I was also present with him and spoke during the event. As many as 300-400 inmates were present. When I came out, I was asked by media persons if Ram Rahim was also present during the event, to which I said he was not asked to attend the programme due to security reasons," he said.
"I said he faces threat to his life. While I was mentioning Babbar Khalsa, I meant to give reference to that outfit only and not Akali Dal. Taking Akali Dal's name was just a slip of tongue," Chautala told PTI over phone from Hisar.
When Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar was asked by reporters about his minister pointing out threats to life of the Dera chief, he said, "Our police and intelligence keep an eye on who faces threat from whom. If anyone faces any kind of danger or threat, he/she will get full security."(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed)