The 56-year-old Dera chief exited the jail around 2 pm, according to official sources. During his furlough, Singh is scheduled to visit the Dera Sacha Sauda Ashram in Barnawa, located in Uttar Pradesh’s Baghpat.
Singh, who is serving a 20-year sentence for the rape of two disciples, had applied for temporary release to avail furlough.
The decision to grant a 21-day furlough to the Dera chief has faced strong opposition from Harjinder Singh Dhami, the president of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee. Dhami objected, stating that Singh is serving a sentence for serious crimes such as rape and murder, and this move fosters mistrust within the Sikh community. He highlighted the repeated temporary releases granted to the Dera chief, emphasizing the lack of responsiveness to the Sikh community’s pleas for the release of Sikh prisoners known as ‘Bandi Singhs.’
Previously, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh had been released from Sunaria jail on a 30-day parole on July 30. He had also been granted a 40-day parole in January and October of the previous year. The Dera chief has a history of temporary releases, including parole and furlough, with the latest being a three-week furlough from February 7, 2022.
In addition to his rape conviction, Singh was also convicted in 2021, along with four others, for conspiring to kill Ranjit Singh, a Dera manager. Furthermore, he and three others were convicted in 2019 for the murder of a journalist that occurred more than 16 years ago.
(With agency inputs)