Is Ram Rahim, chief of Dera Sacha Sauda, above the law?

Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh has been granted a 50-day parole, marking his ninth temporary release since 2017.

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Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, the controversial chief of the Dera Sacha Sauda sect, finds himself in the spotlight once again. He was serving a 20-year sentence for rape and life terms for two murders. He has been granted a 50-day parole, marking his ninth temporary release since 2017. This pattern of frequent furloughs has ignited a firestorm of controversy, raising concerns about the legitimacy of legal procedures and the potential influence of political forces.

Since his convictions, Ram Rahim has spent 184 days outside prison walls—a number set to rise to 234 with this latest parole. While technically legal under the revised Haryana Good Conduct Prisoners Act, it's the frequency and ease with which he seems to qualify for release that has drawn intense scrutiny.

Are there any legal loopholes?

The Haryana Good Conduct Prisoners Act allows for 'regular' parole, which Ram Rahim has consistently taken advantage of. However, critics point out that his multiple murder convictions arguably categorise him as a 'hardcore' prisoner, a designation that should entail stricter release restrictions. The Act's definition of a 'hardcore' prisoner, however, hinges on serial killing, a term that doesn't technically apply to Ram Rahim as his convictions fall under separate FIRs. This legal loophole has become a focal point of contention.

Did BJP influence the judiciary?

The leniency granted to Ram Rahim is particularly unsettling given the fact that Dera Sacha Sauda has a significant following and holds potential political influence. Opposition parties in the states have accused the ruling BJP government, suggesting that Ram Rahim's releases are strategically timed to garner support in upcoming elections. However, BJP denied any such connection, highlighting the due process and the legal rights of all prisoners. 

Families demand for justice

Amidst the legal complexities and political accusations, the voices of victims' families echo with a profound sense of injustice. Each parole granted to Ram Rahim feels like a fresh wound, a reminder of their loss and the seemingly inadequate punishment for heinous crimes. Anshul Chhatrapati, son of a murdered journalist, questioned the laws that allow such ease of release for individuals convicted of such grave offenses.

Uncertainty and gnawing questions

As Ram Rahim is in another period of temporary freedom, the questions surrounding his frequent paroles remain unanswered. Are these releases merely a matter of legal procedure, or do they hint at something more sinister at play? The definitive truth behind the bars remains difficult to track down.