As many as 21 followers of self-styled godman Rampal of Satlok Ashram at Barwala in Hisar district, accused of waging a war on the state and who were arrested in November 2014, were on Friday released on bail by the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Justice M M S Bedi on Friday allowed the bail petitions filed by Anil and others who were denied bail by the Additional District and Sessions Judge at Hisar, Ajay Prasher, on June 6. However, around 100 accused, including Rampal, are still behind bars.
Satlok Ashram had hit the headlines in November 2014 when on High Court’s orders, the state police and paramilitary forces cracked down on the Ashram and arrested Rampal and his followers. Six people were killed and 110 policemen and 70 civilians were injured in the incident.
Justice Bedi granted bail to the 21 accused after observing that they had been behind bars since November 2014 and were not named in the FIR. These accused were arrested as they had gathered at Satlok Ashram and had pelted poliemen with stones. Apart from a stick (lathi) from one and a commando uniform from another, nothing was recovered from these accused, the court observed.
However, Justice Bedi made it clear that all the 21 would have to appear for every hearing before the trial court and if they fail to do so, the Haryana government is competent to move an application seeking cancellation of their bail. Haryana government’s additional advocate general Deepak Sabharwal informed the court that initially there were around 900 behind bars and now hardly 100, who have committed heinous offences, are in jail.
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