New Delhi | Haryana Police on Wednesday evening arrested self-proclaimed ‘godman’ Rampal from his ashram. According to a television channel he was seen being taken away in an ambulance to an undisclosed location.
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.
Rampal will be produced in Hisar court on Thursday, Panipat SP Satish Balan said.
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 government.
According to earlier reports authorities today mounted pressure on him as sedition and other serious charges were slapped against him and several of his followers while bodies of four women were found in the ashram here in Haryana, a day after clashes.
Haryana Director General of Police S N Vashisht today said Rampal is still inside the ashram and asserted that police will continue its operation till he is arrested for production before Punjab and Haryana High Court on Friday in a contempt case. He said the authorities of the ashram in Barwala in Hisar district have handed over bodies of four women and two sick persons, including an infant, who also died in a hospital later. The cause of their death will be investigated.
The vicinity of the ashram looked like a war-zone, a day after clashes between police and ‘private army’ of Rampal’s supporters, who allegedly indulged in firing and throwing petrol bombs at security personnel. About 15,000 followers of Rampal were holed up in the ashram, out of which 10,000 have been evacuated, the DGP said.
Many of those who left the ashram narrated how they were prevented from leaving by the ‘godman’s ‘private army’. There is no possibility of negotiations… There is not even any plan.. He is accused of serious crimes. My suggestion to him is that he should surrender before the law, Vashisht said while addressing a press conference in Chandigarh.
Police registered fresh cases last night against Rampal, ashram spokesman Raj Kapoor, another key functionary Purshottam Dass and several other followers under various Sections of the IPC.
Earlier this week, Punjab and Haryana High Court gave the government time till Friday to produce Rampal in contempt of court case, after which authorities have been asking the devotees in and around the Satlok Ashram to disperse and help them comply with court order.
About the deaths, the DGP said there were no wounds on the bodies of the four women. The police was not sure under what circumstances they had passed away and police will investigate all deaths to ascertain the cause, he said.