The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has accused the Haryana Government of according Dera Sacha Sauda (DSS), chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, a VVIP treatment even after he was a rape and murder convict.
In its meeting on Tuesday, the SAD Panthik Advisory Board condemned “the misuse of the parole facility to Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh” and termed the invitation to the convicted rapist to a State-level function by the Haryana Government as a challenge to the judicial process.
According to SAD, the manner in which, top functionaries of the Haryana Government were honouring Ram Rahim had sent a wrong message to the civil society.
“It does not behoove the State Government functionaries and MP (Member of Parliament) to invite a rapist and murderer for State-level functions,” said the SAD adding that this is, practically, amounted to “contempt of court”.
The Advisory Board meeting, which was presided over by SAD President Sukhbir Singh Badal, said that even though criminal cases were still pending against Ram Rahim, the Haryana Government was treating him as a VVIP giving him full support.
“In such a scenario, the convict is likely to influence witnesses in cases registered against him. Keeping all these issues in mind, Ram Rahim should be shifted to a non-BJP state far from north India like West Bengal”, it said.
The Board also took note that the signature campaign initiated by the Shiromani Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) to secure the release of the Bandi Singhs (Sikh prisoners) was receiving a huge response.
It said that the Sikhs were perturbed that Ram Raheem received repeated paroles but other Sikh detainees were being held without the facility of parole for 28 years.
SGPC president Harjinder Singh Dhami said that the institution had already collected 12 lakh signatures and that it was likely to collect 25 lakh signatures expressing solidarity with the Bandi Singh’s and demanding their release.
He said that the campaign would be made more broad-based in the coming days by approaching people from all sections of society, both in rural and urban areas.
The Board also said that attempts were made to change the norms for recognising minorities and that if this was done, Sikhs would not be able to avail reservation under minority status in institutions in Punjab besides. The meeting further decided to set up a panel to address this issue.
Notably, Gurmeet Ram Rahim walked out of the Sunaria jail in Rohtak (Haryana) on Saturday after he was granted 40-day parole. The Dera chief, who is serving a 20-year jail term for raping his 2 disciples, had got 40-day parole in October last year which had ended on 25 November .
In 2021, the Dera chief, along with 4 others, were also convicted for hatching a conspiracy to kill Ranjit Singh, a Dera manager. The Dera chief and 3 others were convicted in 2019 for the murder of a journalist over 16 years ago.