Frequent parole to Gurmeet Ram Rahim may create law and order problems: Punjab govt
The Punjab government has told the High Court that the frequent parole of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, who is serving a 20-year jail sentence for raping two disciples, will lead to law and order problems in the state.
The Punjab government’s response to the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGBC) petition against the Dera chief’s parole is in contrast to the Haryana government’s response to the petition.
In support of granting parole to Ram Rahim Singh, the Haryana government has told the Punjab and Haryana High Court that he does not fall under the definition of a hardened prisoner and cannot be termed a serial killer. He was convicted in both murder cases.
The Dera chief was granted parole for 40 days on January 20.
The apex gurudwara organization SGPC recently filed a case in the Punjab and Haryana High Court challenging the parole order.
The Punjab government cited the “damage” created by the Dera chief’s followers in Haryana’s Panchkula when he was accused in a 2017 rape case as a reason for its stance.
It also told the court that some sections of the society might liken the temporary parole often granted to the Dera leader to the cases of some who have been in jail for a long time. Several Sikh organizations, including the SGPC, have been demanding the release of ‘Bandi Singhs’ (Sikh prisoners), who they say have been jailed despite completing their sentences.
“In the present case, accused no-9 (Dera leader) has been granted parole several times in the last year. The information received from the concerned party is that accused no-9 is likely to be released from custody temporarily. In order to cause law and order disturbance in the state of Punjab, Punjab ATGP (Law and Order) ) Arbit Shukla said in the affidavit filed in the court.
According to the Punjab government, the frequent granting of parole to Ram Rahim Singh has led to discontent among a certain religious community and has created a “festive and celebratory atmosphere” among Dera followers, which is deeply resented by some sections of the community.
“There is apprehension of law and order disturbance in the State of Punjab as persons opposing respondent No. 9 may stage protests in the State of Punjab which may extend to activities like burning of effigies / traffic jams / dharnas to express displeasure. Against provisional release of respondent No.-9,” the Punjab Government said. told the court.
In 2021, the Dera chief was convicted along with four others for conspiring to kill Dera chief Ranjit Singh. In 2019, the Dera chief and three others were convicted for murdering a journalist 16 years ago.