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After 24 years and 5 months, Dara Singh may see the light of justice: Petition in SC for early release and what it means

Interestingly, District Magistrate, Auraiya had already recommended the premature release of Dara Singh in 2018, however, he was not realsed. Further, in 2022, the Office of Superintendent of District Jail, Keonjhar had issued a character certificate about his good behaviour in jail. In 2022, the Superintendent of Police, Auraiya had against recommended the premature release of Dara Singh, however, he was not released again.

In India, some convicts are more guilty than others, just as some victims are more victimized than others. The crimes against Hindus are far less heinous, far less outrageous, and far less worthy of attention as opposed to crimes committed against the coveted communities. And the crimes of the convicted are far more egregious, far more horrific when the convict is a Hindu – even if the crime was one of defense, one of protection, and one of preservation.

Dara Singh, born Rabindra Kumar Pal, was convicted of murdering 3 people – Christian Missionary Graham Staines and his two sons. In 2003, Dara Singh was awarded the death sentence for the murder of a Christian Missionary and his two children. In 2005, it was the Odisha High Court that set aside the death penalty and commuted it to life imprisonment for Dara Singh. Arrested in 2000, Dara Singh is one of the longest-serving prisoners. It has been 24 years, and 5 months since he has been in prison without parole or furlough. He has not seen a day out of jail since he was arrested in 2000.

On the 9th of July, advocate Vishnu Shankar Jain took to X to tweet that he had filed a petition in the Supreme Court requesting an early release for Dara Singh.

“Today I approached the Hon’ble sc on behalf of Dara singh and requested for his premature release. He is under incarceration from past 24 years and 5months. The Hon’ble court has issued notice in the matter to odhisa govt”, he tweeted.

The petition has been filed, invoking the Guidelines for Premature Release of Life Convicts. The petition says that Dara Singh has served far more than the stipulated 14 years of imprisonment, having spent 24 years in jail now without any remission whatsoever. In fact, even when Dara Singh’s mother passed away, the courts refused to release him for her last rights. The 61-year-old, it says, regrets his acts committed over 2 decades ago.

The petition invokes several cases in which the Court was more than willing to grant early release/remission to the convicted individual. For example, one of the assassins of Rajiv Gandhi, AG Perarivalan, was released by the court even though his death sentence was confirmed and was later commuted to a life sentence. Rajiv Gandhi was the former Prime Minister of India when he was assassinated. In the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, several others were also released by the court. R.P. Ravichandran, Nalini, and others, to name a few.

Another case cited in the petition is Madan v State of U.P. In this case, the accused along with others was convicted of murdering 6 people. They were awarded capital punishment which was later commuted to life imprisonment on the following grounds:

  1. The Court, while sentencing, is not required to apply only the ‘crime test’ but also the ‘criminal test’;
  2. The Prison Conduct Report of the Appellant showing his good conduct in the jail;
  3. The possibility and probability of reformation and rehabilitation of the convict.

In this case, the convict had undergone 18 years of imprisonment when the court released him. In the case of Dara Singh, he has already served over 24 years.

The petition further cites the resolution passed by the Odisha Govt standardising the criteria for determining if a convict should be released early.

Para 5 of the 2022 Guidelines say:

Save, as provided in these guidelines, every convicted prisoner whether male or female undergoing sentence of life imprisonment and covered by the provisions of section 423 A of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (hereinafter referred to as Cr.P.C.) shall be eligible to be considered for premature release, fro,m the prison immediately after serving out the I sentence of fourteen years of actual imprisonment i.e. without the remissions. 

Explanation. —

For the purpose of this clause, it is clarified that upon ‘completion of fourteen years in prison by itself will not entitle a convict to be released automatically from “the prison and the Board shall have the discretion to release a convict at an appropriate time and cases considering the circumstances in which the crime was committed and the other factors, namely. –

a. Whether the convict has lost his potential for committing crime considering his overall conduct in jail during the fourteen years incarceration;

b. The possibility of reclaiming the convict as a useful member of the society, and

c. Socio-economic condition of the convict’s family.

Based on these factors, the petition points out, that the court should have suo-motu decided whether Dara Singh should be released prematurely.

Interestingly, District Magistrate, Auraiya had already recommended the premature release of Dara Singh in 2018, however, he was not released. Further, in 2022, the Office of Superintendent of District Jail, Keonjhar had issued a character certificate about his good behaviour in jail. In 2022, the Superintendent of Police, Auraiya had against recommended the premature release of Dara Singh, however, he was not released again.

Graham Staines case and the discrimination against Dara Singh

As revealed, Dara Singh was not given parole after his mother had passed away. As a consequence, he could not perform the last rights of his mother. One recalls how convicts accused of far more serious crimes had been shown the mercy of performing the last rights of their family members. Nalini, the assassin of Rajiv Gandhi, a former Prime Minister of India, was given parole to attend the last rights of her father in 2016. The 2016 parole was the second time she was out of prison. The first time was when she left the prison on parole to attend the wedding of her brother.

Nalini, who assassinated a former Prime Minister of India got parole twice in 25 years, while Dara Singh, who murdered a missionary, has not got a day of parole or furlough in almost 25 years.

Only recently in March 2024, Kala Jathedi, a dreaded gangster, was granted parole to marry another gangster, Madam Minz.

The list of dreaded and dangerous gangsters, murderers, and rapists, getting parole to marry, attend weddings, or attend the last rights of family members is endless. In fact, there have been cases where even child rapists got released with the court getting philosophical, claiming that every sinner has a future.

In the case of Dara Singh, however, things have been very different. Dara Singh had not been granted even one day of parole in over 24 years, since the day of his incarceration in 2000,, while even those who assassinated the former PM got two paroles. In fact, there were two recommendations for his early release – one in 2018 and one in 2022, however, both were not considered. While far more serious criminals have been given early release, Dara Singh has been languishing in jail for 24 years.

It is pertinent to remember here that in 2011, when the Supreme Court had upheld the HC decision to commute the death sentence awarded to Dara Singh to life imprisonment, several scathing comments were made against Grahan Staines and him converting Hindus.

The SC bench had observed, “In the case on hand, though Graham Staines and his two minor sons were burnt to death… at Manoharpur, the intention was to teach a lesson to Graham Staines about his religious activities, namely, converting poor tribals to Christianity.”

The court had further said, “It is undisputed that there is no justification for interfering in someone’s belief by way of the use of force, provocation, conversion, incitement or upon a flawed premise that one religion is better than the other.”

Such was the backlash by the Leftist ecosystem, that the Supreme Court had to expunge its own statements where it observed the dangers of Christian Missionaries and their nefarious religious activities that led to Dara Singh committing the murder.

One has to point out, that egregious statements where the Supreme Court blamed Nupur Sharma for jihadis beheading Kanhaiya Lal, their reasons to release child rapists, their smiles when Hindu genocide was mentioned in the court and many such insidious comments have not been expunged despite widespread outrage and criticism.

Indeed, some convicts are far more of a convict. In the past 25 years, many heinous criminals have been given parole. Several others have been granted early release. However, Dara Singh, according to the courts and the state is far more dangerous than terrorists and rapists because he murdered Christian Missionaries awarded by Sonia Gandhi. Dara Singh deserves to be locked up beyond the requirement of the law because he used to protect cows and Hindus against smugglers, butchers, and the conversion mafia. Indeed, some victims are more of a victim than others – like Graham Staines was a far greater victim than the thousands who get killed at the hands of religious zealots, screaming Allahu Akbar – not because the Hindus they victimized committed some crime – but simply because they were Hindu and their religious identity was heinous enough. Their existence, grotesque enough.

Dara Singh committed a crime under the IPC, however, he committed the crime because the state refused to help hapless Hindus being converted by the missionaries and the religious crimes being committed against Hindus by Graham Staines and several missionaries like him.

Dara Singh committed the heinous crime because the state has repeatedly failed to protect Hindus from Christian Missionaries like Graham Staines. It is time he gets justice after 24 years. He has served his time and beyond.

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