Central Controversy Surrounding Dera Chief’s Parole Sparks Outrage in Haryana

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Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar clarified that he was not involved in the decision to grant parole to Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, as correctional facilities have their own set of regulations. Ram Rahim, currently serving a 20-year prison sentence for the sexual assault of two female followers at his ashram in Sirsa, was recently granted a 40-day parole. This move, ahead of the Adampur bypoll in Haryana on November 3 and the upcoming panchayat elections, has sparked controversy. Ram Rahim has been conducting online lectures from his ashram in Barnawa, Uttar Pradesh, attracting numerous followers, including many leaders from Haryana. Khattar, when questioned about the parole during a press conference, reiterated that he played no part in the decision. He emphasized that once a court announces a sentence, inmates must adhere to the rules of the correctional facility. When pressed further about the parole’s timing, the chief minister declined to comment, stating that he had no additional information to share on the matter. In addition to his current conviction, Ram Rahim was also found guilty last year of conspiring to murder a Dera manager in 2002. Furthermore, in 2019, he and three others were convicted of a journalist’s murder over 16 years ago. Earlier this year, Ram Rahim was granted a three-week furlough before the Punjab Assembly elections.

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