As violence-hit areas in Haryana limp back to normalcy, a local court on Tuesday will pronounce its verdict in a 11-year-old conspiracy case involving self-styled godman Sant Rampal.
Rampal, 67, was arrested in November, 2014 following a lengthy standoff with security forces who surrounded his Satlok Ashram in Hisar. Rampal was evading arrest in connection with a case involving his followers, who opened fired at villagers in Rohtak, killing one person and injuring several others.
After Rampal failed to appear in court 43 times, police were ordered to arrest the 67-year-old godman. When police marched to his Stalok Ashram, they were met with resistance as Rampal’s supporters barricaded themselves inside the 12-acre premises. A few of them had alleged that they were used as human shields and held against their will inside the ashram. With no sign of Rampal surrendering peacefully, authorities cut water and power supply to the ashram.
At the end of the two-week stand-off, police launched a final assault on the ashram and flushed out Rampal and his supporters. Five women and a baby were killed in the violence. Two cases were registered against Rampal and 11 others in connection with the violence.
A special court set up inside Hisar Central Jail, to hear the case against Rampal, will pronounce its verdict today. Authorities had earlier requested the court to postpone its judgment in light of the CBI court verdict in a rape case involving another self-styled godman, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.
Ram Rahim Singh was sentenced to 20 years rigorous imprisonment — 10 years each for raping two of his disciples. He was also ordered to pay a fine of Rs 14 lakh. Last week, the verdict against Ram Rahim Singh led to a tense flare-up in parts of Haryana. Dera Sacha Sauda followers indulged in arson and clashed with police forces. The violence has left 38 people dead and 250 injured. The Haryana and Punjab High Court pulled up the state government saying it acted in “complete collusion” with the dera followers as they were allowed to assemble in Panchkula ahead of the court verdict.