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Jailed Leaders Amritpal Singh and Engineer Rashid Granted Parole to Take Lok Sabha Oaths

Jailed Sikh preacher Amritpal Singh and Kashmiri leader Sheikh Abdul Rashid are set to take their oaths as Lok Sabha members on Friday, subject to conditions specified in their parole orders.

Engineer Rashid, as he is popularly known, is currently in Delhi’s Tihar Jail, facing charges under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in a terror funding case. Amritpal Singh, who is lodged in a prison in Assam’s Dibrugarh district under the National Security Act, leads the ‘Waris Punjab De’ outfit.

Singh, 31, and Rashid, 56, won the recent Lok Sabha elections from Khadoor Sahib in Punjab and Baramulla in Jammu and Kashmir, respectively, as independent candidates while being incarcerated. They missed the initial swearing-in of the 18th Lok Sabha on June 24 and 25.

Rashid has been granted a two-hour custody parole for his oath-taking, excluding travel time from Tihar to Parliament. Singh has received a four-day custody parole starting July 5, allowing time for his transportation from Assam to Delhi and back.

Both leaders are under strict conditions during their parole. They cannot address the media or make any statements, and their families are also restricted from making media statements. Singh is permitted to meet his family in Delhi, while Rashid’s family can attend his oath-taking ceremony.

Singh’s parole was granted by the district magistrate of Amritsar, following his arrest in April 2023 for a clash at a police station. Rashid’s parole was granted by a Delhi court; he has been jailed since 2019 after his arrest in 2017 related to terror funding.

The parole orders specify that Singh must avoid actions or statements prejudicial to national security and restrict his movements to New Delhi. His relatives can meet him in Delhi, but no video recordings or statements are allowed to be circulated.

Security arrangements will be coordinated by the Delhi Police and Punjab Police with the secretary-general of the Lok Sabha for procedures inside the Parliament complex.

According to the police, Rashid’s involvement came to light during the investigation of Kashmiri businessman Zahoor Watali, arrested for allegedly funding militant groups. The NIA charge sheet named several individuals, including Kashmiri separatist leader Yasin Malik, Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Saeed, and Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin. Malik received a life sentence in 2022 after pleading guilty to the charges.

Amritpal Singh, who emulates slain Khalistani militant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, is detained along with nine associates under the National Security Act.

Additionally, TMC’s Shatrughan Sinha is yet to be sworn in as a member of the Lower House of Parliament.

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