A number of followers of controversial sect leader Rampal Tuesday started leaving the premises of his Satlok Ashram near this town in Haryana's Hisar district after the administration asked them to move out.
Tension mounted around the ashram late Monday when security forces, including the Haryana Police, surrounded the ashram complex and even tried to break one wall to get into the premises.
Police officials said that four-five sect followers tried to pour petrol on themselves to commit self-immolation. However, they were stopped from doing so by the police.
Some of the followers who started leaving the ashram Tuesday told media that they had been "forced" to stay inside the premises for the last few days by the ashram authorities. The followers were from Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
"We were not allowed to leave the ashram. We told them that we wanted to leave but no one listened to us. They forced us to stay inside by saying that if we went out, the police will arrest us," one of the followers from Rajasthan said.
The Hisar district administration had Monday ordered Rampal followers to vacate the Satlok Ashram.
Hundreds of followers of the self-styled godman, including 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 has issued fresh non-bailable warrants against him Monday and ordered that he be produced before the court Friday.
Ashram authorities claimed that Rampal had been moved to a private hospital Monday and that he was not inside the ashram. However, they did not disclose his whereabouts. Police officials said that they had no inputs of Rampal having left the ashram.
The high court Monday rapped the Haryana government and the state police for failing to arrest Rampal and produce him before the court.
Rampal, who is facing charges of murder conspiracy, inciting mobs and contempt of court, was asked to appear before the high court. He has failed to appear before the high 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 that Rampal should be "smoked out even if he is hiding in a bunker".