Tensions rose after Haryana's top court rapped the state government on Monday for failing to arrest Rampal who has repeatedly defied court orders to appear before it on charges of conspiracy to murder, inciting mobs and contempt of court.
The standoff took a violent turn as the Haryana government moved in to arrest Rampal to meet a Friday deadline set by the Punjab and Haryana high court for producing him in a contempt case.
Rampal – who is out on bail in a 2006 murder case, but it was cancelled in July after his supporters entered a court room and threatened lawyers – has skipped court hearings 40 times since 2010.
Here are five areas were the Haryana goverment failed to contain the situation:
Haryana Police had no definitive idea about the number of people, firearms and petrol bombs inside the heavily-fortified ashram. It failed to read the Ashram followers’ defiant mood.
District administration did not stop the build-up in time even after the high court’s non-bailable warrants against Rampal on November 05. The sect summoned three-day religious discourse ( November 7-9). Disciples, including women and children, were allowed to congregate inside the Ashram and set up a human shield of women and children.
The government showed lack of political will with no effective back channels of negotiations to break the tense logjam despite confrontationist mood of the followers. Lacking in tact and firmness to deal with escalating crisis, it gave confusing signals.
Crackdown on media
As a ham-handed operation went haywire in dramatic and blood escalation in the face of stiff resistance from the followers entrenched in Ashram, police assaulted journalists outside the ashram without any provocation, injuring several of them and breaking their equipment.
Heavy deployment, but police tactics to storm the complex in broad daylight backfired, forcing the police to withdraw. The operation halted at 5.30 pm, allowing followers time to recoup and regroup.