No farmland, but Dera chief wants parole for farming 

Last Updated 25 June 2019, 13:21 IST

Incarcerated chief of Dera Sacha Sauda sect, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, who is seeking parole to attend to his farming, doesn't possess any farmland.

According to sources, the revenue department has informed the district administration that the jailed sect chief has no agriculture land in his name and is not an agriculturist. The sect has over 250 acres of farmland, which is registered in the name of a Trust and not the sect chief.

The information could be vital in deciding the parole plea, even as the state government, it appears, is not averse to granting parole to the chief of the sect who has been convicted of rape.

Two ministers in Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar's cabinet - Haryana Jail minister Krishan Panwar and state health minister Anil Vij, have 'supported' Gurmeet ram Rahim Singh’s plea for parole, citing his good conduct in jail as cited in a report by the jail department.

Haryana goes to Assembly elections in a few months and the Dera still has an influence on its considerable followers. Both Vij and Panwar have said that parole is the right of every prisoner who completes two years in jail. The ministers, however, say that grant of parole to the Dera chief has no correlation with the elections in Haryana later this year.

Even though the government is unlikely to resist the parole plea of the jailed sect chief, the report of the police and the revenue department will be the determining factor in grating or rejecting parole to Gurmeet Ram Rahim. The police are likely to cite law and order issues in case the sect chief is released on parole.

The sect chief has been in jail since August 2017. He is lodged in Sunaria jail in Rohtak district, where he has been given the task as a gardener. Gurmeet Ram Rahim was first sentenced to 20 years in jail by a Special CBI court in Panchkula near here for rape of two of his disciples.

Last year, he was sentenced to imprisonment for life for murder of a journalist in Sirsa.

Last month, a plea for parole to the sect chief was declined by the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The sect chief’s ‘foster daughter’ Guransh Insan had moved the High Court for his release on a 4-week parole to attend to her wedding. The High Court, while dismissing the plea, had suggested that the sect chief could attend the wedding through video conferencing.

(Published 25 June 2019, 09:21 IST)

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