Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, convicted for the rape of two women, is set to be released from jail once again, this time on a 21-day furlough. This follows earlier grants of 40-day paroles in January and October of the previous year.
While parole typically involves the temporary release of a prisoner for a specific purpose or good behaviour, a furlough constitutes a short-term temporary release of convicts from incarceration. During this upcoming furlough, the controversial leader, currently held at Haryana’s Sunaria jail, will be residing at an ashram in Uttar Pradesh’s Baghpat.
The decision to grant parole or furlough to Ram Rahim has not been without controversy. In January, after a 40-day parole sparked public debate, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar defended the decision, asserting that it was the Dera Sacha Sauda chief’s right to seek parole through proper procedures.
Previous instances of parole for Ram Rahim have been marked by noteworthy events. In one such episode during the January parole period, the sect’s chief was captured on camera “celebrating” by cutting a cake with a sword. Additionally, during earlier releases, he conducted online “satsang” sessions, raising questions about the activities permitted during such temporary reprieves.
As the Dera Sacha Sauda chief prepares for another temporary release, the decision continues to stir public discourse on the frequency and circumstances surrounding such releases for individuals with serious criminal convictions.