Dera Sacha Sauda Chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Granted Month-long Parole; SGPC Objects

Jailed Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh walked out of Sunaria jail in Haryana’s Rohtak Friday morning on month-long parole. Haryana’s Jails Minister Ranjit Chautala said the 30-day parole was granted by the Rohtak Divisional Commissioner on the recommendation of concerned officials.

According to the minister, Singh had said in his plea that he wanted to go to the Dera Sacha Sauda Ashram, Barnawa, in Uttar Pradesh’s Baghpat. A go-ahead from the administration in Baghpat was taken before clearance was given for the parole, the minister said.

“He has been granted month-long parole and he came out of prison on Friday,” a senior police official from Rohtak told PTI. Meanwhile, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) President Harjinder Singh Dhami strongly objected to the parole of the Dera chief and said this decision shows the double standards of the government.

Dhami said, “On the one hand, governments are not bringing the ‘Bandi Singhs’ (Sikh prisoners) out of the jails despite they have completed their sentences, on the other the Dera Sirsa head, who is a convict in heinous crimes, is being brought out from the jail time and again. ” On the 500th Parkash Purab (birth anniversary) of Guru Nanak Dev, the Center had announced to release the Sikh prisoners, “but due to alleged malice of the government, the same has not been implemented”, he alleged. “Even though the Sikh bodies are repeatedly raising this issue, the government is not giving any meaningful revert. However, the governments are kind to the Dera chief,” Dhami said.

The SGPC president said the BJP government had granted a three-week furlough to Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in February during the Punjab elections “for political gain and again gave him parole to take advantage in the Sangrur Lok Sabha bypolls” to be held next week. Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh is serving a 20-year jail term for raping two women students at his ashram in Sirsa, where the Dera is headquartered. He was convicted by a special CBI court in Panchkula in August 2017.

He was last year also convicted along with four others for hatching a conspiracy to kill Ranjit Singh, a Dera manager, in 2002. The Dera chief and three others were convicted in 2019 for the murder of a journalist over 16 years ago. In February, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was given a 21-day furlough which was just days ahead of the assembly polls in Punjab.

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar had then rejected any link between the sect leader’s release and the Punjab elections. The Dera chief had then stayed in Gurugram with his family.

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