‘Waris Punjab De’ Chief Amritpal Singh, Engineer Rashid take oath as MPs

New Delhi:  Away from the media glare, jailed Sikh leader Amritpal Singh, who is detained under the National Security Act (NSA) in Assam’s Dibrugarh jail, and Kashmiri leader Sheikh Abdul Rashid on Friday took the oath as Lok Sabha MPs amid heavy security in and around the Parliament complex here after they were granted parole.

They were brought to the Parliament complex separately in the morning and took oath in the chamber of the Lok Sabha Speaker, sources said.

Sheikh Abdul Rashid (56), popularly known as Engineer Rashid, is lodged in Tihar Jail in Delhi in connection with a 2017 terror funding case. A Delhi court had granted custody parole for two hours to him to take the oath as an MP.

Rashid won the Lok Sabha elections as an Independent candidate from the Baramulla constituency in Jammu and Kashmir by defeating his nearest rival and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah by a margin of more than 2 lakh votes.

Thirty-one-year-old Sikh radical Amritpal Singh, head of ‘Waris Punjab De’ and currently locked up in an Assam jail, won the Khadoor Sahib seat by 197, 120 votes over his nearest rival, Congress candidate Kulbir Singh Zira.

Both of the leaders won the polls as Independents while being incarcerated.

Their parole orders said during their temporary release, they can neither speak to nor address the media on any issue or make any statements. Their family members also cannot make a statement in any form to the media.

While Amritpal Singh, who claims he’s inspired by Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, was allowed to meet his father and uncle after the oath-taking ceremony, Rashid’s family had permission only to attend his oath-taking.

Constitution experts say a jailed MP-elect can come to Parliament to participate in the oath-taking ceremony and take part in important votes with the court’s consent.

As per Section 8 (3) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, if a person is convicted of any offence and sentenced to imprisonment of two years or more, he/she will be disqualified from contesting the polls.

For taking the oath, Rashid has been granted a two-hour custody parole, while Amritpal Singh granted a four-day custody parole from July 5. After the oath, he was flown to Assam.