Drawing flak from the Punjab and Haryana High Court for failing to arrest a controversial sect leader and bring him before the law, the Haryana government has finally ordered followers of self-styled godman Rampal to vacate his Satlok Ashram near Barwala town.
"All the followers and devotees of Baba Rampal Satlok Ashram have been asked to vacate the ashram as soon as possible as the Punjab and Haryana High court has issued non-bailable warrant against Baba Rampal," Hisar Deputy Commissioner M.L. Kaushik said Monday.
He said the "high court has ordered police to arrest Baba Rampal and produce him in the court at the earliest".
Warning the followers of Rampal not to create any obstruction in implementing the law, the deputy commissioner said the followers who come out of the ashram peacefully would be provided facilities to reach the railway station and bus stand.
Thousands of followers of the godman, including hundreds of women and children, have been camping outside his ashram, 210 km from here, for nearly a fortnight to prevent security forces from entering the complex to arrest Rampal.
The sect leader has been avoiding arrest and has failed to appear before the high court despite non-bailable warrants against him issued by the high court Nov 5.
Citing medical reasons through his counsel, Rampal did not appear before the high court again Monday.
The high court Monday rapped the Haryana government and police for failing to arrest Rampal and produce him before the court.
Tension prevailed outside the ashram complex since Sunday as hundreds of security personnel surrounded the complex but thousands of followers of the sect leader acted as a shield to the ashram by camping outside.
The security forces were withdrawn from the immediate vicinity of the ashram Sunday evening.
Rampal, who is facing charges of conspiracy to murder, inciting mobs and contempt of court, was asked to appear before the high court. He has failed to appear before the court thrice.
The high court last week directed Haryana Police and state authorities to arrest and bring him (Rampal) before the court. The high court bench said Rampal should be "smoked out even if he is hiding in a bunker".