Open fires to police by controversial godman Rampal’s supportes in Haryana

BARWALA, HISAR(ANI/PTI): Clashes erupted at the ashram of controversial godman Rampal here in Haryana on Tuesday with police lobbing tear gas shells and using lathicharge to disperse his supporters who allegedly fired back. A number of people were injured in the violence at the Satlok Ashram in this town in Hisar district.

Open fires to police by controversial godman Rampal’s supportes in Haryana


IMAGE CREDIT: NDTV

The stand-off which has been continuing for several days between the authorities and Rampal’s supporters took a violent turn as the Haryana government was racing against time to get hold of the godman to meet the deadline of Friday set by Punjab and Haryana high court for producing him in a contempt case.

As security personnel including police and paramilitary forces stepped up efforts to disperse the followers, said to be in thousands inside the ashram, they faced stiff resistance.

A senior police official said supporters of the godman were firing from inside the ashram but police was exercising maximum possible restraint to minimise casualties.

A portion of the outer wall of the ashram had been razed even as thick cloud of smoke was seen inside the premises.

Police also said that stones were being hurled at them from inside the ashram as several followers and Rampal’s ‘private army’ had pitched themselves on the rooftop of the premises.

Authorities continued to face an uphill task in dispersing Rampal’s followers from the ashram here.

Police said they were facing a hostile crowd, some of them armed, from inside, but they were using restraint to keep the casualties to the minimum.

The 63-year-old godman was to appear before the high court on Monday but he did not do so, with his counsel saying he was “unwell” and could not travel from Barwala to Chandigarh, a distance of about 270km.

He wanted more time for his production.

The high court then issued a fresh non-bailable warrant against him and asked the authorities to present him on Friday.

Rampal has cited health reasons for not appearing before the HC earlier on three dates.

This morning, some disciples who managed to come out from the ashram claimed that “thousands” of people were inside the premises and a vast majority of them wanted to leave immediately but were being prevented by lathi-wielding supporters of the godman.

A large number of women and children, are among those who are still inside the Satlok Ashram here, they claimed.

A woman follower, aged around 40, who identified herself as Kusum from Uttar Pradesh, said she somehow managed to come out from inside the ashram today.

“I forced my way out. There are scores of people still inside,” she said.
Another middle-aged woman follower, who came out from the ashram, said, “I am from Dadri. There are so many people still inside and vast majority of them want to leave. But they are not being allowed to leave.”

When asked who was putting pressure on them to stay back, a woman follower from Aligarh told reporters, “I forced my way out. People are facing difficulty in getting food and water. But some men carrying lathis told us to stay back and tried to prevent us from leaving. They told us that the (court) decision will soon come and everything will be alright. We persisted that we wanted to leave and then we came out in a group”.

A young male follower of Rampal from Haryana, said “I was forced to stay back. Some followers of the Baba who are from other states asked us to stay inside…”

He said Rampal should surrender before court immediately and let the law take its own course.

“Thousands of followers are still inside the ashram and a vast majority wants to leave. But they are told that they will be given food here only. But now many people are not listening and are gradually coming out,” he said, adding ration supplies too are running low.

He further said that ordinary followers like him had not seen Rampal all these days. .

Posted by on November 18, 2014. Filed under Nation. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

One Response to Open fires to police by controversial godman Rampal’s supportes in Haryana

  1. Hisar: Ashram turns into warzone, godman’s bhakts open fire on cops – Rediff India News
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    Several persons, including security and media personnel, were injured as clashes erupted at the ashram of controversial godman Rampal on Tuesday with police lobbing teargas shells and using batons to disperse his supporters who allegedly fired back.

    A number of people including women were injured in the violence at the Satlok Ashram in Hisar district, as authorities attempted to storm the premises and arrest Rampal, against whom fresh non-bailable warrants were issued by the Punjab and Haryana high court on Monday.

    However, it was not clear in the melee whether Rampal was holed-up inside the ashram or had moved out as was claimed by an ashram spokesman on Monday.

    Plumes of smoke erupt from Satlok Ashram in Hisar after the clashes between the supporters and cops became violent. Photograph: ANI/Twitter

    Ashram spokesman Raj Kapoor had said that Rampal was “unwell” and was being treated at an “undisclosed location”.

    Media crews faced the brunt of the violence that left some of them injured while cameras of many private electronic news channels were broken.

    Police said that many security personnel had also been injured in the violence as they were was firing and stone pelting from the ashram side, with some followers making last-ditch attempts to thwart the forces from storming the premises.

    DGP S N Vashisht said police was in the midst of a tough operation.

    “Earlier I got two phone calls that they (media personnel) were stopped from entering the operational areas. There were 86 reporters and I permitted each one of them. “It has been brought to my notice that some media persons have been injured in the ensuing melee or the stone pelting… One I have seen on the news that he has been beaten up by the police. I assure you that the matter will be investigated,” he said.

    The violence has erupted at a time when the Haryana government is racing against time to meet the Friday deadline set by the Punjab and Haryana HC for producing Rampal in a contempt case.

    Security personnel including police and para-military forces stepped up efforts to disperse the followers, said to be in thousands inside the ashram.

    A senior police official said supporters of the godman were firing from inside the ashram but police was exercising “maximum possible restraint to minimise casualties.”

    A portion of the outer wall of the ashram had been razed even as thick cloud of smoke billowed out from the premises which is spread over an area of 12 acres.

    Sant Rampal’s followers have been camping outside his ashram since Sunday shielding him from the cops. Photograph: PTI photo

    Police said that stones were being hurled at them from inside the ashram as several followers and Rampal’s ‘private army’ had pitched themselves on the rooftop of the ashram.

    As the security personnel that included para-military forces in strength launched a massive operation to clear the ashram area, several followers also hurled petrol bombs at the forces.

    The followers, who were being evacuated, were taken in waiting police vans and other vehicles and sent to their destinations.

    Many injured were taken to waiting ambulances, which had been stationed outside the ashram which has 50-feet high walls on all sides.

    An injured journalist said that he along with his other colleagues was standing at the spot when suddenly they were surrounded by the police which “chased” them and used batons, leaving them injured.

    Police said they were facing a hostile crowd, some of them armed, from inside, but they were using restraint to keep the causalities to the minimum.

    Meanwhile, some media persons were also injured during the clashes after the police lathi charged camera crew. Photograph: ANI/Twitter

    The 63-year-old godman was to appear before the high court on Monday but he did not do so, with his counsel saying he was “unwell”.

    The high court then issued a fresh non-bailable warrant against him and asked the authorities to present him on Friday.

    However, the ashram spokesman had said that “Sant Rampal was not running away from law. We have already said that he will present himself before the court as soon as his health improves. But authorities can’t use force to hunt him down”.

    He said the ‘godman’ was at present at an “undisclosed location” and was being “treated for his illness”.

    On Tuesday morning, some disciples who managed to come out from the ashram claimed that thousands of people were inside the premises and a vast majority of them wanted to leave immediately but were being prevented by lathi-wielding supporters of the godman.

    Rampal’s followers to protest in Delhi?

    Following the violence, Haryana government has ordered immediate screening of all Delhi-bound vehicles to check the movement of followers of the godman to the capital for a reported dharna at the Jantar Mantar.

    Official sources said that the directions were issued following intelligence inputs which suggested that Rampal’s followers were planning to travel to Delhi for a dharna at Jantar Mantar in support of the Satlok Ashram chief.

    Security personnel, including traffic and general police, have been directed to screen all vehicles, including private cars and buses, state-owned buses of various states like Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh and goods-carrying vehicles headed for Delhi, sources said.

    Government Railway Police has also been directed to screen Delhi-bound trains from Haryana, the sources added.