- Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh promised strong action
- Mohinder Pal Bittu was accused of desecrating Sikh holy book in 2015
- He was killed allegedly by two inmates at New Nabha prison in Patiala
Security was stepped up and Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh promised strong action after a man, accused in a 2015 sacrilege case, was killed inside a prison on Saturday evening, risking an outbreak of communal violence.
Mohinder Pal Bittu, 49, accused of desecrating the Sikh holy book in 2015 in Faridkot district's Bargari, was killed allegedly by two inmates at the New Nabha prison in Patiala.
The incident took place around 5:45 pm when he was allegedly attacked by two men Gursewak Singh and Maninder Singh with rods that they pulled out from a rusty window, the police said. Bittu was taken to the hospital but he was declared brought dead, they said.
Requesting all communities to maintain peace and "not give in to rumours", Amarinder Singh ordered an inquiry into the attack, warning of strict punishment for the assailants, an official statement said. The government has suspended the jail superintendent and the barrack-in-charge.
Ten companies of the Border Security Force (BSF) and two companies of the Rapid Action Force (RAF) have been called in, sources said.
A fact-finding committee has been asked to submit the report within three days, the government said. "The inquiry will be in addition to the mandatory judicial inquest into the murder of the accused, Mohinder Pal Bittu, who was arrested last year," it added.
Mohinder Pal Bittu, a follower of the Dera Sacha Sauda sect, was accused in the case related to the desecration of Shri Guru Granth Sahib in Bargari, Faridkot in 2015.
The incident was among the first in a series that took place that year leading to violent protests across the state. Two people were killed in Moga district when police fired at protesters. The police fired at protesters at Kotkapura in Faridkot district as well.
Soon after coming to power, Amarinder Singh appointed an inquiry commission under Justice (retired) Ranjit Singh to probe the sacrilege and firing incidents.
The commission found that the sacrilege incidents were linked to the Akal Takht's pardon to controversial Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim in a blasphemy case, allegedly secured by the then chief minister Parkash Singh Badal.