Panchkula (Haryana), Oct 26 - BJP leader Manohar Lal Khattar was Sunday sworn-in as the…
NEW DELHI: Haryana Police finally arrested elusive self-styled godman Rampal on Wednesday evening from his fortified Satlok Ashram near Barwala in Haryana. He was whisked away in an ambulance which was followed by a number of police vehicles.
The police had been preparing for the final assault to arrest Rampal from his ashram since late evening, where four women died mysteriously and two others in hospital in the midst of a showdown.
“We have arrested him. He is in our custody. He is being taken to hospital for medical examination,” a senior police officer said. There was not much resistance offered by Rampal’s supporters and his private army when he was finally taken into custody after 9pm, a police officer said.
The controversial 63-year-old baba will produced in a Hisar court on Thursday, superintendent of police, Panipat Satish Balan told reporters.
Earlier, home minister Rajnath Singh asked Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar to bring about an early end to the stand-off between police and supporters of Rampal in Hisar, amid indications of unhappiness at the Centre about the way the issue was handled by the state.
During the telephonic conversation, Khattar briefed the home minister about the steps being taken to arrest Rampal and how to avoid casualties.
Haryana Police have slapped fresh cases, including the serious charge of sedition, against him and ruled out any negotiation to seek his custody for production in Punjab and Haryana high court on Friday, the deadline set by the court.
Police said 70 supporters of the Rampal, most of them his ‘private commandos’, who indulged in violence yesterday, were arrested and produced before the local court which sent to judicial custody till December 3.
Those arrested, include son of Rampal and chief volunteer Purushottam Dass, a cousin of the ‘godman’.
Unlike yesterday, when the vicinity of the ashram in this town of Hisar district looked like a war-zone when police and Rampal’s supporters clashed, including small arm firing from inside, the situation was peaceful today.
More than 10,000 followers, including aged men and women and children, who had been holed up inside the ashram for days, came out with raised hands, signalling peace. The desertion continued till late in the night.
By late evening, a large posse of CRPF personnel were brought to the periphery of the ashram spread over 12 acres, where Rampal is believed to be hiding with the support of his “private army”. The Centre also despatched 500 CRPF personnel to help the operations.
While the clashes yesterday left over 200 injured, police today announced that bodies of four women were handed over to them by the ashram staff. Another woman and a one-and-a-half year old baby were taken in serious condition to a hospital where they died. It was not clear what caused their death. State police chief S N Vashisht said there were no external injuries and only a post-mortem will reveal the real reason of death.
(With inputs from PTI and IANS)