Hooda’s security downgraded, Sirsa dera head keeps Z-plus cover

  • Hitender Rao, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Nov 28, 2014 19:03 IST

While the Haryana government has scaled down the security detail of former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and his former cabinet colleague Randeep Singh Surjewala, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, head of Dera Sacha Sauda in Sirsa, will continue to enjoy Z-plus (highest level) protection.

The dera head is the only individual in the state, besides chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar and governor Kaptan Singh Solanki, to have the highest level of security.

The security levels of VVIPs were modified after the state-level review committee (SLRC) re-assessed the threat perception recently. Comprising Subsidiary Intelligence Bureau (SIB) joint director and top Haryana Police intelligence wing officials, the committee put the VVIPs into Z-plus, Z, and Y categories for security.

Threat helps Ram Rahim

The SLRC allowed the Sirsa Dera head to retain the highest level of security on the grounds of grave threat to his life. He was first accorded this privilege during the Congress rule in Haryana in 2007 after Sikhs took umbrage to his purported imitation of their 10th Guru during a public function at Salabatpura in Bhatinda district of Punjab. The resultant clashes between Sikhs and dera supporters created a law-and-order problem in Punjab and Haryana.

In the recent Haryana assembly elections, the dera declared support to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the saffron party seems to have benefited by it.

In 2008, Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) operative Bakshish Singh tried to target his cavalcade near Nilokheri in Karnal district. In 2012, Punjab Police reportedly got to know from arrested Khalistan Zindabad Force (KZF) militant Sandeep Singh about the plans to attack Ram Rahim.

Hooda, Surjewala get Y-level cover

Sources have said that it was proposed initially that the security cover of former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda would be downgraded from Z-plus to Z; but it was lowered further to Y, even though he faces threats from Sikh radicals on account of being instrumental in enacting the legislation for creating a separate gurdwara committee in Haryana.

An aide of the former CM confirmed that Hooda’s security had been pruned.

The intelligence agencies reportedly did not find any fresh input to indicate threat to his life.

The security level of former Haryana minister Randeep Singh Surjewala, another leader instrumental in the enacting the contentious Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Act, is reduced from Z to Y.

‘Jat threat to Bishnoi’

Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC) chief Kuldeep Bishnoi will continue to enjoy Y-level security.

Sources said there no specific information about any danger to him, but he faced threat from criminals, subversive elements and the Haryana Jats for his pursuing anti-Jat agenda in the elections.

Chief minister gets Z plus

As expected, first-time chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar and governor Kaptan Singh Solanki have received Z-plus security. There are no specific inputs about any threat to chief minister Khattar, but being a BJP chief minister, he could be the target of fundamentalists, Muslim outfits, as well political opponents.

He was party’s man in charge of the elections in Jammu and Kashmir in 2002. His proximity to Prime Minister Narendra Modi also might earn him enemies.

Z-plus security comes with static police guards; a band of Haryana police commandos; bulletproof cars; pulse jammers; escort vehicles; and an anti-sabotage unit.

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