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Jailed Engineer Rashid, Amritpal to take oath as LS Members Today

Jailed radical Sikh preacher Amritpal Singh and Kashmiri leader Sheikh Abdul Rashid are set to take oath as Lok Sabha members on Friday, subject to conditions in their parole orders. Both Singh and Rashid, who are incarcerated under serious charges, won the recent Lok Sabha elections as Independents while being in jail. Singh is imprisoned in Assam’s Dibrugarh district under the National Security Act, while Rashid is in Delhi’s Tihar jail for a terror funding case under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

They missed the initial oath-taking with other elected members on June 24 and 25. For the oath, Rashid has been granted a two-hour custody parole excluding travel time, while Singh has been given a four-day custody parole to allow for travel from Assam to Delhi and back. During their parole periods, both are prohibited from addressing the media or making any statements, and their family members are also barred from making any statements to the media.

Singh, a Khalistani sympathiser who heads the ‘Waris Punjab De’ outfit, is allowed to meet his family in Delhi, while Rashid’s family can only attend his oath-taking ceremony. The parole orders also include strict security measures, with both men to be accompanied by security personnel at all times during their parole.

The parole for Rashid, jailed since 2019 after his arrest in 2017, was granted by a Delhi court. Singh’s parole was granted by the district magistrate of Amritsar; he was arrested in April 2023 after clashing with police in an attempt to free an aide. Singh is restricted to New Delhi during his parole and cannot enter any other jurisdiction.

Both the Delhi Police and Punjab Police are coordinating with the secretary general of the Lok Sabha for procedures within the Parliament complex. Rashid, a former MLA, was implicated in a terror funding case involving several prominent figures, including Kashmiri separatist leader Yasin Malik and others. Malik was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2022 after pleading guilty.

Singh, who styles himself after the slain Khalistani militant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, is in jail along with nine associates. Besides Singh and Rashid, TMC’s Shatrughan Sinha is also yet to be sworn in as a member of the Lower House of Parliament.

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