Chandigarh: The controversial head of the Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda sect, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, who is serving a 20-year sentence for double rape and the subsequent two life terms for murders, at Sunaria jail, Rohtak, after the convictions by the CBI court, was on Friday granted a 50-day parole from prison.
This comes just 29 days after he had returned to Sunaria jail after his 21-day furlough. During his parole, the Dera chief would stay at an ashram in Uttar Pradesh’s Baghpat district.
Controversy surrounding the Dera Chief
The Dera head was convicted in 2017 by the Panchkula CBI court for raping two of his disciples. While in 2019, he was convicted for murdering a Sirsa-based journalist and for conspiring to kill a Dera manager in 2021.
Since his conviction in 2017, he has already spent 184 days outside the jail. This would be the eighth time he would be out on parole even though he was granted parole thrice last year.
It may be recalled that his repeated release from jail had raised eyebrows and the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) had strongly objected to the Haryana government’s move to grant furloughs to Dera chief last year as he had been serving sentences for heinous crimes like rape and murder.
The SGPC held that it fostered an atmosphere of mistrust among Sikh community as while the Dera chief was being repeatedly granted temporary release from the jail but the governments were not listening to the Sikhs’ voice for the release of `Bandi Singhs’ (Sikh prisoners).
Haryana's parole rules
Under the Haryana Good Conduct Prisoners (Temporary Release) Act, a convict can avail temporary release for 90 days in a year for a variety of personal, family, social and other reasons under different clauses.
A convict is entitled for furlough for three weeks, annually, after serving two years of imprisonment and this period is treated as serving jail term. In case of parole, a convict is entitled for parole for 42 days, annually, after one year of imprisonment though the convict has to undergo this period in jail.
However, all the temporary releases are granted by the state government on the basis of the conduct of the convict.