CHANDIGARH: Fearing communal violence, the police on Sunday stepped up security in parts of Punjab after Dera Sacha Sauda sect follower Mohinder Pal Bittu, one of the prime suspects in a case relating to the desecration of Guru Granth Sahib in Bargari in 2015, was killed in a prison.
The crime occurred on Saturday evening when Bittu was attacked by two inmates in the high-security Nabha prison, near Patiala. He was rushed to the local Civil Hospital where he was declared brought dead, police said.
Chief Minister Amarinder Singh appealed to the public not to get swayed by rumours and maintain peace at all costs.
"After conducting post mortem, Bittu's body reached his hometown Kotkapura where he will be cremated later in the day," a senior police official told IANS.
He said as per the wishes of the family, the body was kept in Naam Charcha Ghar of the Dera Sacha Sauda sect, where a large number of sect followers started gathering. Kotkapura has a huge sect following.
Preliminary investigations said Bittu (49) was allegedly killed by Gursewak Singh and Maninder Singh with iron rods. Both are serving life terms for murder.
Bittu is survived by two sons and a daughter.
Belonging to Kotkapura town in Faridkot district, Bittu, who was wanted in many sacrilege cases, including violence in Haryana's Panchkula town after the conviction of Dera Sacha Sauda sect chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in 2017, was arrested in 2018 by a special investigation team from Himachal Pradesh's Palampur town.
The Chief Minister on Saturday ordered an inquiry into the fatal assault on Bittu.
Additional Director General, Prisons Rohit Chaudhary will head the fact-finding committee, which has been asked to submit a report within three days.
The inquiry will be in addition to the mandatory judicial inquest into the murder of the accused, a government spokesperson told IANS.
The Chief Minister has ordered beefing up of security in the state in the wake of the attack, while appealing to all communities to maintain peace and not give into rumours.
Those involved in the attack would face punishment for the crime, he said.
The sacrilege case relates to the alleged desecration of the Guru Granth Sahib in Bargari village in Faridkot in October 2015.
Two people were killed and many others injured in Behbal Kalan village of the district on October 15, 2015, when police resorted to unprovoked firing on hundreds of people protesting the sacrilege.