‘Rapists get parole too’: BJP minister backs Ram Rahim’s 41-day parole plea for farming months before Haryana elections



With elections to the Haryana Assembly just a few months away, some ministers in the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government in the state have signaled their support to the parole plea filed by rape and murder convict Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim. Haryana minister Anij Vij has backed the self proclaimed godman saying every person has the right to ask for parole. When Vij was asked about Haryana governments stand on Ram Rahims plea, he said that it will be treated as per the existing law and went on to add that rapists also get parole. Every person has the right to ask for parole. Just as a common person gets parole, he will also get parole as per the laws, we are not making a special exception for him. You tell me on what basis he cannot get parole? the BJP leader said. Stating that the government was not reducing his sentence, he said, Manohar Lal Khattars government runs as per the law. Do his rights as a common citizen no longer hold? Rapists also get parole. I am not defending him, the law has declared him as a rapist so everyone must too. He has the right to parole. On Monday, Dera Sacha Sauda chief Ram Rahim who is currently lodged in a Rohtak jail sought 41-day parole for the purpose of farming at his fields in Sirsa. He is currently serving a 20-year jail term in rape cases. He was also awarded life imprisonment in connection with a murder case. According to jail officials, his conduct inside jail has been good. When asked about the timing of the parole plea moved by Ram Rahim which comes just a few months ahead of the Assembly elections in Haryana, Vij denied any connection. Haryana is scheduled to go to polls by end of 2019. It has nothing to do with the polls. If it had anything to do with the polls, we would have granted him parole before the Lok Sabha elections, Vij said. Ram Rahim has large followers and can en mass support to any party in the elections. Before he was convicted by the court in rape and murder cases in 2017, political parties had wooed him due to the large number of his supports. Ahead of the 2014 general elections and Assembly elections in Haryana, he had announced support to the BJP. In the 2007 Punjab Assembly elections, he had supported the Congress but the party couldnt win. Ahead of the 2014 general elections, then BJPs prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi had even addressed a rally in Sirsa. In the Haryana Assembly polls same year, Ram Rahim had again backed the BJP and asked his supporters to vote for the BJP. After the elections, he was given Z-plus security cover. Several BJP ministers and more than 18 party MLAs in Haryana led by then state party in-charge Kailash Vijayvargiya had met Ram Rahim to thank him for the support. He had also invited praise from PM Modi for joining and encouraging the people to join the Swachh Bharat mission. According to Ram Rahims claim, he has over six crore followers in northern states including in Haryana and Punjab. Meanwhile, activist and Swaraj India leader Yogendra Yadav alleged that the convicted godman was being given parole by the Manohar Lal Khattar government ahead of the elections with an eye to help the BJP in the upcoming elections. He said that parole application was just an excuse and the motive was to bring him out of jail. Murderer and rapist baba will do farming in the fields of election and Khattar ji will harvest. If the Haryana government grants him parole for farming, Swaraj India will challenge this in the court, he said in a tweet. Poet-turned-politician Kumar Vishwas also alleged that the Haryana government was behind Ram Rahims application and sought to link it to elections. Convicted in murder and rape cases by a court, Ram Rahim wants permission from the government to come out of jail for farming. The elections are just four months away if he will not do farming in the fields of the election, what will politicians harvest? he said. Rohtak district jail superintendent said that rape and murder convict Ram Rahim is not a hardcore criminal and displayed good conduct in prison. He also added that Ram Rahim has not committed any crime in prison. Following his parole application, the jail superintendent wrote to the Sirsa district administration and sought a report on whether releasing Ram Rahim will cause a law and order situation. The official also mentioned in his letter that Ram Rahim has not violated any rules in the jail. Ram Rahim was sent to jail in 2017 by a Panchkula court. Over 45 people had died and public properties were damaged after his supporters went on a rampage following the courts order.

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