Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh: Killer guru’s momentary launch from jail sparks anger in India. And it isn’t the primary time

New Delhi

A convicted killer and rapist revered by tens of millions as a spiritual guru has quickly walked free from jail in India for the fourth time in 12 months, angering activists who say it units a harmful precedent in a rustic grappling with violence in opposition to girls.

Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, head of the religious group Dera Sacha Sauda, was launched for 40 days on January 21 and is anticipated to stay free till early March, Sanjeev Verma, a senior official from town of Rohtak, within the northern state of Haryana, confirmed to CNN on Wednesday.

In 2017, Singh was sentenced to twenty years in jail for raping two of his followers. Two years later, he acquired a life time period for the homicide of a journalist who uncovered the sexual abuse of ladies inside his group.

Singh was beforehand granted momentary go away from jail in February, June and October final yr, authorities mentioned, angering girls’s rights advocates within the nation.

“See how the rapist whom you let free in society is slapping the system,” Swati Maliwal, chairperson for Delhi’s Commission for Women, mentioned on Twitter, sharing a video of Singh reducing a cake with a sword 4 days after his newest launch.

“Great heroes once protected the weak with the sword, today this rapist is celebrating with the sword,” she wrote.

His launch has additionally been opposed by the Sikh group, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee.

Despite the character of his crimes, Singh maintains a cult-like following and his Dera Sacha Sauda group welcomed his newest launch, saying on Twitter that it was “thrilled.”

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Since strolling out of jail final month, Singh has been seen preaching to his practically 5 million followers on Instagram, providing “parenting tips” and releasing songs to discourage drug use.

Some folks against his launch have petitioned for him to be put again behind bars, in line with courtroom paperwork.

However, final yr, comparable petitions difficult Singh’s earlier momentary launch durations have been dismissed by the Punjab and Haryana High Courts.

Verma, the Rohtak district official, didn’t reply CNN’s questions on why Singh had been launched, saying the matter was in entrance of the courtroom.

CNN has tried to contact the Haryana authorities, however has not acquired a response. Speaking to reporters in October final yr, when Singh was beforehand out on momentary launch, the state’s chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar mentioned he had “no comment” on the case.

“It is the job of the court to give bail or parole to any person,” he mentioned.

Singh, typically known as the “guru of bling” on account of his flamboyant life-style that features his flashy costume sense and a penchant for diamonds, instructions an enormous and dependable help base in and outdoors of India.

His Dera Sacha Sauda group has ashrams – locations of worship – throughout 10 states and union territories in India, and claims to have 60 million followers worldwide.

Singh wields appreciable affect and is taken into account a cultural icon and performer amongst his supporters. He has starred in a number of movies and quite a few in style music movies, together with the “Messenger of God,” by which he acts as a hero who saves India.

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The 2017 rape verdict in opposition to him sparked riots that left 36 folks useless and a whole lot injured throughout northern India, prompting the federal government to tighten safety in Haryana on the day of his sentencing, and to close down web and SMS providers in some elements of the state.

He is one in every of a number of revered gurus in India to have been accused of violent crimes, together with rape.

Earlier this month, an Indian courtroom sentenced self-proclaimed religious guru Asaram Bapu to life imprisonment on prices of rape and sodomy. It was the second life time period in opposition to the octogenarian, who’s already serving a life sentence following his 2018 conviction for raping a 16-year-old woman.