Hisar, Haryana: Tension prevailed in Haryana’s Hisar district on Saturday as thousands of followers of Rampal, a self-styled godman, geared up to thwart any attempt by the police to arrest him.
Additional police personnel were brought in as the police prepared to forcibly arrest Rampal from the ashram near Barwala town, 240 km from Chandigarh. The police have cordoned off the ashram and water and electricity connections have been cut.
Several thousands of these followers, including women and children, have been camping outside the Ashram for over a fortnight after the Punjab and Haryana High Court issued non-bailable warrants against Rampal. Some of these followers are carrying weapons and others are armed with sticks; they have blocked the way to the Satlok Ashram complex to prevent police and officials from arresting Rampal and taking him away.
Rampal has been directed to appear before the court on November 17. Police have to execute the warrants before that date.
While Rampal, through his counsel, has claimed that he is medically unfit, his followers have said that they will not allow his arrest under any circumstances.
Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar today made an appeal to Rampal “to present himself in the court in a peaceful manner and without any hindrance”. He also appealed his followers to cooperate in following the directions of the court.
The chief minister told media that everyone has to uphold dignity of the judicial system.
Rampal, who runs “Satlok Ashram” in Hisar, is facing trial in a 2006 case when his supporters opened fire on villagers, killing one and injuring several others in Rohtak. Since 2010, Rampal has skipped court hearings 42 times, after seeking repeated exemptions.