11:10 GMT11 August 2020
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): The controversial Indian guru Gurmeet Ram Rahim convicted in rape cases is set to be paroled from Haryana State Jail. In August 2017, an Indian court sentenced him to a total of 20 years in prison which led to wide-scale protests by his supporters.

    News suggesting that Gurmeet Ram Rahim, the controversial Indian guru convicted of rape, is to be paroled from jail has sparked a row on social media.

    The self-styled guru, known for his unique acting skills in Bollywood movies and flamboyant lifestyle is currently serving a 20-year prison term in the Indian state of Haryana.


    While the Haryana state court had previously warned against his release, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ruled State government has supported the granting of parole which the guru had sought to attend his foster daughter's wedding, citing his “good behaviour” in prison.

    Many celebrities, activists and netizens are ferociously protesting against his release, accusing the ruling BJP government in Haryana of releasing the guru to appease his ardent followers before upcoming state elections.

    #DontSpareRapistBaba was the 3rd most popular trend on Indian twitter.

    A state unit of India’s main opposition Congress party also took a dig at the Haryana BJP government with its Telangana state unit questioning Ram Rahim’s possible release.


    Ram Rahim’s millions of followers, meanwhile, cheered about the likelihood of his release calling him “innocent” and “falsely framed”. In fact, #BabaRamRahim was the no.1 Trend on Twitter in India for most of Monday.

    Some of his followers want to know why certain Bollywood celebrities managed to get paroled while serving their jail terms while their “beloved” guru hasn't been allowed to walk out of prison. 

    Meanwhile, Haryana state government Jail Minister K.L. Panwar has given a statement saying that all prisoners in the state have the right to seek parole.

    "Every convict has the right to seek parole after a year. He made a request which we forwarded to the Sirsa district administration. Further action will be taken based on the report. Do not link this with elections. If we had such an intention we would have released him before Lok Sabha (parliament) elections. The government has no such intention," Panwar was quoted as saying by India Today.

    In August 2017, an Indian court sentenced the guru to a total of 20 years in prison, 10 years for each of two rape convictions, to be served in consecutive terms. His arrest had led to wide-scale protests by his followers that had to be controlled by police force action.

    Haryana is headed for state assembly elections in four months, and the supporter base for Gurmeet Ram Rahim is immense across Haryana.



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