Haryana: Dera Sacha Sauda chief gets 30-day parole for second time this year, SGPC opposes

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Dera Sacha Sauda chief and rape convict Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh walked out of the Sunaria jail in Haryana’s Rohtak district on Thursday after he was granted a 30-day parole for the second time this year.

Singh, who came out of the prison at 5 pm, will be going to the Dera Sacha Sauda ashram at Barnawa in Uttar Pradesh’s Baghpat, his counsel Jitender Khurana told PTI over phone.

The Sirsa-headquartered sect’s chief had applied for temporary release for availing parole. He is serving a 20-year jail term for raping two of his disciples.

“The releasing authority is satisfied that the applicant-prisoner is entitled to be released under the Haryana Good Conduct Prisoners (Temporary Release) Act 2022 in view of the report of Superintendent, district jail Rohtak, District Magistrate, Baghpat in UP and superintendent of police Baghpat,” according to an order issued by the divisional commissioner, Rohtak.

Akal Takht, supreme temporal seat of the Sikhs, and Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), apex religious body of the Sikhs, strongly opposed the parole to the Dera chief. SGPC chief H S Dhami demanded that the parole should be cancelled.

Earlier, the Dera chief had been granted a 40-day parole in January. In October last year too, he had been granted a 40-day parole.

While out on parole on these two occasions, Singh had gone to his Barnawa ashram and held several online “satsang” sessions.

Prior to his October parole, he had come out of the prison on a month-long parole in June last year. Besides, he was granted three weeks’ furlough from February 7, 2022.

Meanwhile, in a video message, Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Raghbir Singh said Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, who was in jail in murder and rape cases, has again been given parole and the ‘Khalsa Panth’ strongly objects to it.

On one hand, he (Dera chief) was being given parole on a regular basis while on the other hand, the “Bandi Singhs” (Sikh prisoners) who have spent over 30 years in jails, were not being released, he said.

By giving the Dera chief parole on a regular basis, the government is trying to let down the Sikh community, he said.

SGPC and various other bodies have been seeking the release of Sikh prisoners, which they claimed were lodged in different prisons despite having completed their sentences.

SGPC president Dhami, in a statement, said that this “dual policy of the governments is creating an environment of mistrust among the Sikhs”.

He said that if Dera chief, who is convicted in serious crimes, can be given repeated paroles, then why the government is not listening to the voice raised by the Sikh community for the release of “Bandi Singhs”.

The SGPC president alleged that the governments are turning a blind eye “to the heinous crimes of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh for their political interests and are letting him free repeatedly”.

“Such a policy of the governments is going to make the Sikhs feel alienated, which is not good for the country. The parole of Gurmeet Ram Rahim should be cancelled immediately, and he should be locked up in jail,” said Dhami.

Haryana Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala said any person who is behind the bars is allowed parole according to the jail manual and that is his constitutional right.

“If any permission is given which is not within the ambit of law, then government will definitely look into it,” he said reacting to the Dera chief’s parole.

According to the warrant for his temporary release, the Dera chief has been released on a regular parole of 30 days subject to conditions that the prisoner shall during the period of his temporary release reside at the ashram in Barnawa.

He shall not without obtaining prior permission of the district magistrate (DM) visit any place not specified in the release warrant during the said period, it said.

The warrant said that at the time of his release on regular parole, the prisoner shall give to the DM concerned full particulars of the place where he intends to reside during the period of his temporary release and shall keep the DM informed of any subsequent changes of his residence during the period.

The prisoner shall during the period of his temporary release keep peace and maintain good behaviour, according to the warrant for his temporary release.

The in-charge of the police station concerned shall keep a close watch on the conduct and activities of the prisoner during the temporary release and submit a report in this regard to the jail superintendent through the deputy commissioner of police or superintendent of police as early as possible, it said.

In 2021, the Dera chief, along with four others, was also convicted for hatching a conspiracy to kill Ranjit Singh, a Dera manager. The Dera chief and three others were convicted in 2019 for the murder of a journalist more than 16 years ago.

Content retrieved from: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/india/self-styled-godman-ram-rahim-now-gets-parole-of-30-days/articleshow/101990939.cms.

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