New Delhi, Nov 18: Clashes erupted at the ashram of controversial godman Rampal in Hisar, 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.
The stand-off which has been continuing for several days between the authorities and Rampal's supporters took a violent turn on Tuesday.
The reason being 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.
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.
Who is controversial godman?
The godman was born as Rampal Dass on September 8, 1951 in village Dhanana in Sonipat district of Haryana. He had very modest beginning as his father was a farmer. His father's name is Bhakt Nandram and mother's name is Bhaktmati Indradevi.
After completing his schooling he did a diploma in Engineering and was appointed as a J.E. in the irrigation department of Haryana Government. It is being said that since childhood he was very fascinated with religious activities like kirtans, satsangs and bhajans.
In the meantime, he met 107 year old Swami Ramdevanand who took him under his tutelage. After working for 18 years, he left his job in 1995 and started doing these religious activities as full timer. Soon he declared himself as an incarnation of Sant Kabir.
In 1999, Rampal established his Ashram Satlok after getting land from a philanthropic woman Kamla Devi in Karontha village.
But this rosy tale soon got over. After the year 2000, he had to go through various legal wrangling after he made derogatory remarks against Arya Samaj founder Swami Dayanand Saraswati.
2006 murder case and his evading of court proceedings
Report says that on July 12, 2006 a violent protest broke out between godman's followers and Arya Samajis. In that clash a young man got killed and a murder case was lodged against Rampal. He along with many of his followers were jailed in the case.
Rampal who currently is on bail, faces charges of conspiracy in connection with the 2006 incident.
On November 10 this year, rejecting Haryana government's plea that self-styled godman Sant Rampal was unwell and his arrest would create law and order problem, Punjab and Haryana High Court issued a fresh non-bailable arrest warrant against him and cancelled his bail in the case.
The self-styled 'godman' has failed to appear before the High Court on three dates - November 5, November 10 and November 17. On Monday, the HC had issued a fresh non-bailable warrant (NBW) for November 21 against Rampal after he failed to appear in a contempt case.
(With inputs from PTI)