Villagers from over a dozen panchayats have forced Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh’s hand to depute Shimla IG Zahur H Zaidi to probe the antecedents of controversial godman Baba Amardev and to also look into his April 26 clash with locals in Solan’s Rurra village. However, hours after Zaidi proceeded to the area to meet villagers, the self-styled godman got himself discharged the IGMC hospital, Shimla, where he was being treated after the clash. Villagers had vowed not to let Amardev return to the village from Shimla, and also pressed the administration to probe his background.
“It was Baba’s request to discharge him. Some of his aides had reached hospital on Wednesday. Baba left with them in a private vehicle. We can’t say where he is headed,” said Dr Ramesh Chand, Senior Medical Superintendent. He denied reports about Amardev having been referred to AIIMS in New Delhi or to PGI, Chandigarh. “He only made a request for being discharged and doctors did so,” said Dr Chand.
During the controversial godman’s stay at IGMC hospital, his visitors had included Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and Health Minister Kaul Singh Thakur. But after villagers demanded action against Amardev, the CM finally assured them of an impartial probe. On Thursday, Zaidi confirmed that he visited the village following government orders for holding an impartial inquiry into Amardev’s background.
“I went there and spoke to the villagers in detail. We have to check different aspects and report will be submitted to the higher authorities,” he said. Praveen Kumar, Pardhan of the Tundal panchayat, said the Chief Minister had asked for a week’s time to find out facts about Amardev’s past and his role in the attack which had left a 54-year old woman injured. She is still admitted at a Solan hospital for treatment. Two FIRs were lodged by the Kandaghat police after the incident, but after Chief Minister went to meet Amardev at the IGMC, the entire staff of the police station was moved out.
Seven villagers were also arrested based on the FIR lodged by Baba Amardev, but no action was taken against him on the FIR registered by the villagers. Locals claim that Amardev hails from Rajasthan and claim to have royal connections. The add that he came to Solan a decade back, and later settled in Rurra with the help of locals. Villagers have now accused him of encroaching five bighas of government land to raise a temple complex.