The entire UT administration machinery remained on its toes in anticipation of the appearance of Rampal, a self-styled godman from Haryana, before the Punjab and Haryana high court on Monday.
But in vain, as Rampal, accused of contempt of court, did not turn up citing medical grounds. The court then issued a non-bailable warrant against Rampal. Taking note of the sea of Rampal’s supporters laying siege to the Chandigarh railway station on November 5, the date of last hearing, the Chandigarh Police and UT administration had been busy the entire week holding series of meetings to work out a strategic plan to handle any kind of untoward situation.
As a result, over 30,000 government employees, including 15 executive magistrates, cops from Rapid Action Force, Chandigarh Police, Punjab Police, Government Railway Police and Central Reserve Police Force, were on duty in shifts of at least eight hours to maintain law and order in Chandigarh and Haryana.
Two judges, who were to hear the case, were given additional security. Sources in the administration said the situation was worse in Haryana, where the entire police force had been deployed to manage Rampal’s supporters.
Besides, 40 Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) buses were pressed into service for ferrying cops. A senior officer in the UT administration, requesting anonymity, said more than Rs 35 lakh had been spent on the exercise.
Rampal’s is not an isolated case. In the past also, appearance of politicians or so-called spiritual heads puts the administration to great inconvenience, while burdening it and other states with huge costs for ensuring such appearances.
Sources said similar security arrangements would again be made next week as the court had asked the Haryana government to present Rampal before the court on November 17.
Calm at rly station
With Rampal’s supporters deciding to stay away from Chandigarh on Monday, calm prevailed at the local railway station.
Earlier on November 5, over 25,000 supporters of the self-styled godman created major ruckus at the local railway station to show their solidarity to their guru. Therefore, ahead of Rampal’s appearance at the Punjab and Haryana high court on Monday, heavy security was deployed both inside as well as outside the railway station to tackle any similar eventuality.
Station superintendent RK Dutta said though police force had sealed the main entry point, passengers were allowed to enter and leave the station without any hurdles.