Self-styled godman Sant Rampal was on Tuesday acquitted by a Hisar court in two cases registered against him, after both eyewitnesses and the complainant turned hostile. Briefing the media outside Hisar Central Jail, Sant Rampal’s lawyer A P Singh said Sant Rampal has been acquitted in two criminal cases (426 and 427), adding ‘its a victory of truth’.
Although Sant Rampal was been cleared of two charges, namely obstructing government servants from performing their duty and wrongful confinement of people, he will continue to remain in jail as he faces charges in at least eight other cases, one of which traces back to 2005 where a villager was shot dead in Hisar. Also Read: Sant Rampal acquitted in two cases, awaits judgment in at least eight more
Founder of Satlok Ashram, touted as a socio-cultural movement in Haryana, 63-year-old Rampal is the head of religious sect called Kabir Panth. Born Rampal Singh Jatin in Dhanana village in Sonepat district, Sant Rampal was popularly referred to by his followers as ‘Jagatguru Rampal Ji’. Rampal had obtained his diploma from Nilokheri’s Industrial Training Institute, after which he worked as a junior engineer in the Haryana Government’s irrigation department. He quit his job in 1996.
Rampal was supposedly a devout follower of the Hindu deities such as Lord Krishna, Hanuman. But after he met Swami Ramdevanand, he apparently abandoned Hinduism. Soon after, he went on to become a self-styled godman claiming to be the successor of Kabir, whom he believes to the supreme God. Some of his followers reportedly consider him as the reincarnation of Kabir. The Satlok Ashram was founded in 1991 in Karotha village of Rohtak district. By 2000s, he established several other ashrams as well as lapped up several followers in Haryana, notably from Jhajjar and Rohtak districts.
He is married with two sons and two daughters.
Cases against Sant Rampal
63-year-old Rampal has been slapped with cases of sedition, murder, attempt to murder, waging war against the state government, rioting, illegal detention and others. The cases were piled on him after a tense two-week standoff between his supporters and the police, where five women, and a child had died, while more than 200 people were injured in the clashes. Sant Rampal as arrested on November 19, 2014. Nearly 15,000 of his followers were evacuated from the sprawling premises in Barwala, Hisar.
He was eventually produced before the Punjab and Haryana High Court just a day after his arrest in connection with a contempt case and was sent to police custody for five days by a court. The Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Haryana Police, which had conducted the search operation at Satlok Ashram in Barwala after his arrest, had recovered a huge cache of arms and ammunition. Besides, petrol bombs, acid syringes, a chilli grenade and a pregnancy test strip were also recovered from his ashram. Back in the day, the state police had reached a conclusion that they possibly fought a well-armed force of at least 300 “commandos” trained by retired Army and police personnel, and even former officers from elite units such as National Security Guard and Special Protection Group.
Data presented by the states reveal that crores of rupees was spent in quelling the situation. According to the data presented by the states, Haryana alone spent at least Rs 15.43 crore on locating and arresting Sant Rampal, Punjab spent Rs 4.34 crore, Chandigarh Administration spent around Rs 3.29 crore and Union of India incurred at least Rs 3.55 crore, totaling Rs 26.61 crore.