The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Wednesday condemned the misuse of the parole facility extended to self-styled godman and Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim while terming the invitation given to the convicted rapist to attend a state-level function by the Haryana government as a challenge to the judicial process.
It also demanded he should be shifted to a non-BJP ruled state like West Bengal.
The SAD Panthik Advisory Board, whose meeting was held here, said the manner in which top functionaries of the Haryana government were honouring Ram Rahim had sent a wrong message to civil society.
“It does not behove state government functionaries like officer on special duty to the Chief Minister and a BJP MP to extend invitations to a rapist and murderer for state-level functions,” it said, contending that this practically amounted to contempt of court.
The Advisory Board meeting, which was presided over by SAD President Sukhbir Singh Badal, noted that even though criminal cases were still pending against Ram Rahim, the Haryana government was treating him as a VVIP and extending its full support to him.
“In such a scenario, the convict is likely to influence witnesses in cases registered against him. Keeping all these issues in mind, Ram Rahim should be shifted to a non-BJP state far from north India like West Bengal,” it noted.
The board also took note that the signature campaign initiated by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) to secure the release of the Bandi Singhs was receiving a huge response.
It said Sikhs were perturbed that Ram Rahim was getting repeated paroles but Sikh detainees were being held without facility of parole since 28 years.
SGPC President Harjinder Singh Dhami said the institution had already collected 12 lakh signatures and that it was likely to collect 25 lakh signatures, expressing solidarity with the Bandi Singhs and demanding their release.
He said the campaign would be made more broad-based in the coming days by approaching people from all sections of society, both in rural and urban areas.
The board also took note that attempts were being made to change the norms for recognising minorities.
It said if this was done, Sikhs would not be able to avail reservation under minority status in institutions in Punjab, besides various government schemes which would affect the community adversely. It decided to form a panel to address this issue.