“God-man” Sant Rampal has been acquitted in two criminal cases (under Sections 426 and 427). Once again, Section 144 had been imposed on Haryana’s Sirsa in apprehension of a disruption in law and order ahead of a local court’s verdict on the self-proclaimed “god-man”.
Rampal was arrested by police in 2014. He had failed to appear before the court for over 40 times.The verdict was given by a local court in Sirsa.
The 67-year-old is accused of conspiracy in a 11-year-old case in which his supporters had opened fire on villagers in Rohtak, killing one person and injuring several others.
On August 29, 2017, Rampal was acquitted in two criminal cases against him. He will however, remain imprisoned as there are still two more pending cases of murder and sedition against him.
Satguru Rampal Maharaj heads a sect that worships the 15th-century poet and mystic Kabir, who is known for a message of tolerance. He is the head of the Satlok Ashram in Barwala.
He worked as a junior engineer in the Haryana irrigation department before becoming Sant Rampal.
On 17 November 2014, a case was registered against Rampal and his followers under IPC sections 186 (Obstructing public servant in discharge of his public function), 332 (Voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty) and 353 (Assault or use of criminal force to deter a public servant from discharging his duty).
Another case was registered against Rampal and his followers – Purshotam Dass, Raj Kumar, Mohinder Singh, Rajender Singh, Rahul and several others – on 18 November, 2014 on a complaint of Sukhdev Singh of Ratia (Fatehabad) under IPC sections 147 (Rioting), 149 (Unlawful assembly, every other member of such assembly shall be guilty of the offence), 188 (disobedient to an order lawfully promulgated by a public servant) and 342 (Wrongfully confining any person).
In 2014, the police had to deploy water cannons as they forced their way into Rampal’s ashram after a days’-long standoff. Devotees fought back with guns, rocks and lathis or batons.
After the operation to evacuate thousands of Rampal’s followers was completed, the bodies of four women who were apparently died were found inside the complex. The bodied did not have any bullet marks or injuries and they did not die in the rescue, the police had confirmed. Another woman and baby died in hospital after leaving the ashram.
The guru had used nearly 15,000 followers as human shields and the police had to breach a lengthy line of men, women and children to get hold of him. Estimates say that a minimum of 200 people were injured on the fateful day. The followers had resorted to stones and lathis and later acid and petrol.
The state government had to cut the power, water and food supply to the ashram and when finally the followers left the site, many of them complained that they had been held back against their will.
Incidentally, this was the first case of violence after the BJP government led by Manoharlal Khattar came to power in 2014.
The Haryana government has faced a lot of flak regarding the terrible mismanagement that ensued after the Guru Ram Rahim verdict came out on 25 August. Normal life came at a standstill in Haryana, Punjab and Delhi as the Dera supporters went on a rampage post the verdict convicting Rahim of rape. Human lives were lost and public property was destroyed as the government was unable to do anything to stop it.
The Logical Indian expects that similar situation does not repeat itself and sincerely hopes that the authorities have made necessary arrangements to deal with any breach of law and order by the followers of the self-styled guru.