Updated: October 16, 2018 1:22:22 pm
Self-styled godman Rampal and 14 others were sentenced to life imprisonment on Tuesday, in connection with the murder of four women and a child in 2014. A local court in Chandigarh had convicted them under Sections 302 (murder), 343 (wrongful confinement) and 120 B (conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) on October 11. Speaking to The Indian Express, Rampal’s lawyer said the 15 convicts have been asked to pay a fine of Rs 2.05 lakh each in addition to the jail term.
The quantum of sentence in another case, which relates to the death of one woman, will be pronounced on Wednesday. In this case, Rampal and 13 others are convicted.
The cases date back to November 2014, when the Punjab Haryana High Court directed the police to arrest Rampal after he failed to appear before the court. When the police moved to arrest him, his followers barricaded themselves inside Rampal’s Satlok Ashram, located near Barwala town in Hisar district, leading to a violent confrontation. After a two-week standoff, Rampal was finally arrested on November 19, 2014, and the police evacuated 20,000 others from the ashram.
As many as six FIRs were filed against Rampal and his supporters after the incident.
Five women and a child died during the standoff. In an FIR lodged at Barwala police station, the police accused Rampal of the deaths and said the victims were “made hostage in Satlok Ashram”, and died as food and other facilities, including medicine, were not provided to them in time.
Following the violence, the ashram was closed in 2014. Two others, located in Delhi’s Mundka area and Bhiwani, are still operational.
Rampal, 67, has been lodged in Hisar Central Jail. The verdict last week was pronounced by Additional District and Sessions Judge DR Chalia.
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