The Haryana government released Dera Sacha Sauda chief and actor-writer-producer-director Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh on furlough for 21 days starting February 7. The Shiromani Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee wondered whether it was prudent to release him on furlough only two weeks before the Assembly elections in the neighbouring Punjab. The Haryana chief minister denied that his release had anything to do with the elections.

Gurmeet is serving time for two rapes and two murders. While releasing him on parole would entail clearance from the local police and the district administration, furlough is the state prison department’s prerogative and given to prisoners serving long jail terms.

In January this year, the Punjab and Haryana high court had barred the Punjab police from taking Gurmeet to their state for investigation of other sacrilege cases, saying that it might create law and order problems.