The operation to arrest Sant Rampal from the Satlok Ashram in Haryana’s Hisar district began around 12:10pm on Tuesday following the directive of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. However, police failed to enter the Ashram premises on the first day of the operation. The operation was finally suspended midway owing to risk of explosion in an underground LPG dump in the area. Here are top ten developments since operation began in Hissar, Haryana.
1. Self-styled godman Sant Rampal, who is holed up in his Satlok Ashram here in Hisar, is an accused in a murder case.
2. The 63-year-old ‘godman’ was to appear before the High Court yesterday but he did not do so, with his counsel saying he was “unwell”.
3. The Punjab and Haryana High Court gave the government time till Friday to produce Rampal in contempt of court case, after which authorities have been asking the devotees in and around the Satlok Ashram to disperse and help them comply with court order.
4. Clashes broke out yesterday leaving over 200 people, including security and media personnel, injured, as efforts to arrest him were met with stiff resistance by his supporters who allegedly fired at the police and lobbed ‘petrol bombs’. Police lobbed teargas shells and resorted to lathicharge to disperse Rampal’s supporters.
5. Some disciples who managed to come out from the ashram claimed that “thousands” of people were inside the premises and a vast majority of them wanted to leave immediately but were being prevented by lathi-wielding supporters of the ‘godman’
6. At least six casualties have taken place so far. This morning bodies of four women were handed over by the ashram to district administration of Hisar. Another woman came out of ashram this morning in a critical state. She was rushed to the hospital, but died during treatment. A child, 18 months old, has also died today morning.
7. Police have slapped sedition and other charges against the controversial ‘godman’ and several of his followers that include officials of his Satlok Ashram. “Rampal has been booked on charges of sedition. He is very much inside the Ashram and we shall nab him. I can’t give any deadlines at this moment”, said Haryana DGP SN Vashisht while briefing the media on the police’s operation to arrest controversial Baba Rampal of Satlok Ashram in Barwala.
8. 250 detained for creating trouble from inside the ashram. A few of them shall be arrested, said Haryana DGP.
9. DGP made it clear that there were no wounds on the bodies of the four women who had died and as of now police was also not certain at what time and under what circumstances they had passed away.
10. Using women and children as “human shields” for the last week or so was only the first of the many tactics adopted by Rampal’s supporters. In fact, they put up such a strong resistance on Tuesday that despite the four-hour siege, not a single policeman could enter the ashram. (With agency inputs)