Tension mounted in Barwala town of Hisar district in Haryana ahead of Monday’s deadline set by the Punjab and Haryana High Court to ensure appearance of self-styled godman Rampal in a contempt case, prompting authorities to impose prohibitory orders at several vulnerable places.
As authorities raced against time to meet the deadline set by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the situation remained volatile around Satlok Ashram, which has been surrounded by police and paramilitary forces and all roads leading to the premises sealed, officials said on Sunday.
Several disciples of the 63-year-old controversial godman were holed up in his Satlok Ashram to prevent his arrest.
A police official said additional force has been deployed in Barwala town in Hisar district to bring out Rampal, who is being protected by a strong human shield formed by his followers including women, some of whom are believed to be carrying lethal weapons.
Prohibitory orders under Section 144 CrPC have been imposed in Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali to avert any violent backlash by his supporters opposing his arrest even as authorities were trying to persuade Rampal to surrender on his own as this may help avert any incident of violence once he gives up at his own will.
However, plans to storm the Ashram and use of force to comply with the court orders, have been kept ready, they said.
Five Superintendents of Police from Hisar, Bhiwani, Sirsa, Jind and Fatehabad are among the senior police officials present to ensure that the court orders are executed.
The prohibitory orders have been imposed to maintain law and order and restrict the movement of the followers of Rampal who have been thwarting police efforts to arrest him.
A large number of policemen have been deployed at key points including roads leading to Chandigarh from Panchkula (Haryana) and Mohali (Punjab), police said.
Hisar Range Inspector General of Police, A K Rao, who is camping at the site, has urged Rampal’s followers to cooperate with police and comply with the court orders.
Rejecting Haryana government’s plea that Rampal was unwell and his arrest would create law and order problems, Punjab and Haryana High Court had on Monday last issued a fresh non- bailable arrest warrant against him in a contempt case and asked as to why his bail in a 2006 murder case should not be cancelled.