New Delhi, October 27
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has said he had no role in the parole granted to Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh as jails have their own rules.
Ram Rahim, who is serving a 20-year jail term for raping two women disciples at his ashram in Sirsa, was granted parole for 40 days last week.
The decision to grant him parole ahead of the Adampur bypoll in Haryana on November 3 and panchayat elections has triggered a furore.
For the last few days, Ram Rahim has been holding online discourses from his Barnawa ashram in Uttar Pradesh. These discourses have been attended by scores of his followers, including many Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders from Haryana.
Asked about Ram Rahim’s parole at a press conference here, Khattar said he had no role in it.
“I had no role in this…. Courts announce imprisonment and a convict goes to jail. After that, the jail’s rules apply to all the inmates,” Khattar told the press conference organised on the completion of eight years of his government.
Further asked about the timing of Ram Rahim’s parole, the chief minister declined to comment, saying he had nothing more to say on the issue.
Ram Rahim, along with four others, was also convicted last year for hatching a conspiracy to kill Ranjit Singh, a Dera manager, in 2002. The Dera chief and three others were convicted in 2019 for the murder of a journalist more than 16 years ago.
In February, Ram Rahim was granted three weeks’ furlough ahead of the Punjab Assembly polls.