After the High Court questioned whether the privileges given to rape convict Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, such as parole and furlough, were also being offered to other convicts, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said the right to parole or furlough is granted to every convict with good conduct in jail.
Khattar on Thursday said, “Parole is given based on conduct in jail. Every convict has the right to get parole and furlough. We are now creating an open jail. Inmates showing good conduct will be placed in an open jail.”
Dera Chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh received 184 days of parole and furlough in the past three years.
In response to a PIL filed by the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC), the Punjab and Haryana High Court directed the Haryana government to explain if similar provisions of furlough and parole were extended to other convicts.
The High Court also instructed the state government to provide a status report.
The SGPC, concerned about Gurmeet Ram Rahim’s frequent paroles, argued that the PIL aimed to protect national sovereignty, integrity, public harmony, peace, and social fabric.
In a petition filed in February, the SGPC highlighted the potential disastrous consequences of granting parole to Gurmeet Ram Rahim, who claims to be a ‘messenger of God’ with titles like Baba and ‘maharaja.’
On Wednesday, Gurmeet Ram Rahim surrendered to Sunaria jail authorities after completing a 21-day furlough leave, spending the time at Barnava ashram in Uttar Pradesh without holding any discourse with disciples, as per court orders.
Gurmeet Ram Rahim has been granted three temporary releases in 2023, totalling 184 days out of jail.
He was sentenced to a 20-year jail term in 2017 for raping two disciples and later received life imprisonment in two murder cases, including the killings of journalist Ram Chander Chhatrapati and Dera Manager Ranjit Singh in 2002.