CHANDIGARH: Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was on Friday granted parole for a month by the BJP-led Haryana government.
Ram Rahim was convicted for the murder of his manager in 2002 and was also for the rape of two women in 2017. He is currently serving life imprisonment in Sunaria jail in Rohtak, Haryana.
In February this year, the self-styled godman, Singh, was granted a 21-day furlough was granted furlough on February 7 to meet his family in Gurugram, right before the Punjab state assembly elections.
He has a large number of followers in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.
Earlier, he was released from the jail on three more occasions for various reasons, including his plea to meet the ailing mother. The parole has been granted for the first time since his conviction.
Speaking on the matter, an official said he has been granted parole as per the jail manual.
While on payroll Ram Rahim will stay in Barnawa in Bagpath, the first ashram established in Uttar Pradesh in 1980, during parole.
According to an official, the dera chief was provided Z-plus security cover during his parole owing to the “high threat perception” to his life from “pro-Khalistan” groups.
In June 2019, Ram Rahim Singh had withdrawn his parole plea after the state BJP government was cornered by opposition parties for favouring the self-styled godman, who sought parole for 42 days to tend to his agricultural fields at his sect’s headquarters in Sirsa town.
Also, the high court had rejected his parole plea for attending the wedding ceremony of his foster daughter.
Ram Rahim was sentenced to 20 years in jail in August 2017 for raping two women.
A special CBI court in Panchkula this January 2019 also sentenced Ram Rahim and three others to life imprisonment for the murder of journalist Ram Chander Chhatrapati over 16 years ago.
His conviction on August 25, 2017, had led to violence in Panchkula and Sirsa, leaving 41 people dead and over 260 injured.
Ram Rahim was patronised by political leaders and parties in Punjab and Haryana for nearly two decades due to his ability to influence the votes of his followers.
He has also produced, directed and acted in dud movies like MSG: The Messenger and MSG-2 The Messenger in 2015.