Delhi Commission for Women chief Swati Maliwal has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking changes in remission and parole rules in context with the parole given to rape convict Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh and the release of the rapists of Bilkis Bano.
Maliwal has sought stricter laws and rules for the release of rapists and the conditions that need to be put before even considering such moves.
“On August 15 this year, the rapists of Bilkis Bano were let off by the Gujarat Government citing the 1992 remission policy that allowed prisoners to apply for reduction of their sentence. Apparently, this was done despite CBI and Special Judge (CBI) raising objections against the release of the convicts. The media has also reported that some of the rapists of Bilkis Bano were charged for crimes such as ‘outraging the modesty of women’ when they had been released on parole. Despite this, their sentence was reduced as even the Ministry of Home Affairs, Union Government recommended the premature release of the convicts of Bilkis Bano,” Swati Maliwal has said in the letter.
She further said that recently, the Government of Haryana has released Dera Sacha Sauda Chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim on parole who has been convicted of rapes and murders and is serving a life sentence in a jail in Rohtak.
“It has been observed that the convict has been released multiple times during his incarceration. This time, when out on parole, he has held several ‘Pravachan Sabhas and released music videos promoting himself. In fact, recently several senior functionaries of Haryana and Himachal Pradesh Government including the Deputy Speaker and Mayor (Haryana) and Transport Minister (Himachal Pradesh) attended his ‘Pravachan Sabhas’ and pledged their complete allegiance and support to him,” the DCW chief said.
The DCW chief has said, “These incidents are deeply disturbing and reflect the “connivance of highly placed politicians with influential convicts. The politicians continue to use rapists to further their vote bank politics, especially when elections are round the comer, which happen to be the case in both Gujarat and Haryana.”
“If influential people enjoying political clout can seek undue benefits while serving life sentences in heinous crimes against women and children, justice is clearly denied and any steps of the Government for ensuring safety of women and children are rendered devoid of any merit,” she has pointed out in the letter.
Clearly, the existing rules and policies vis a vis remission, parole and even furlough in the country are extremely weak and can be easily manipulated by politicians and convicts for their own benefit. Therefore, to avoid any further misuse of the laws and policies, there is an urgent need to review them and make them more stringent so that justice is served, Maliwal has urged in the letter.
Maliwal has requested the Prime Minister to instruct to take up the matter of the premature release of Bilkis Bano’s rapists with the Gujarat Government and Ministry of Home Affairs, so that the rapists are made to serve their complete jail term along with the matter of the parole of Gurmeet Ram Rahim with the Haryana Government.
The DCW chief has also sought the assurance of strict action against senior functionaries of the Haryana and Himachal Pradesh Governments who have attended the Sabhas of rapist and murderer Gurmeet Ram Rahim.
Maliwal has also urged in the letter to set up a high-level committee to ensure stringent laws and policies regarding remission, parole and furlough for convicts serving sentences in serious crimes against women and children. The sentence of convicts in cases of crimes against women and children should not be reduced under any circumstances, she has said in the letter.