Water and power supply to the fortified Satlok Ashram at Barwala near Hisar has been severed, even as a heavy police force is laying siege to it, ready to move in to arrest self-styled godman Rampal.
After the Supreme Court denied bail to Rampal, the police have raised barricades around the place where almost 1-lakh people are gathered to resist any attempt to arrest Rampal even though the Punjab and Haryana high court wants him. Around 5.30pm on Friday, the district administration disconnected the supply of electricity and water to the ashram where Rampal’s supporters have formed a human shield around him.
More than 2,500 personnel of the Haryana Police and the paramilitary force have taken positions on the 6-km stretch from Barwala to Uklana on the Hisar-Chandigarh highway that passes through the ashram. A helicopter made five sorties over the ashram on Friday and filmed the premises to help the police gauge the number of people inside.
The traffic on the route to Chandigarh was diverted. Anticipating the need for police action, the state government has kept 100 Haryana Roadways buses and 40 ambulances on standby to move the injured to hospital. “We will carry out the court orders under all circumstances,” said inspector general of police (Hisar range) Anil Kumar Rao, adding that the timing of the final action was a secret but the police would want to keep the damage to minimum, since women and children were inside.
Satlok Ashram spokesperson Raj Kapoor said before the police could take their spiritual leader to the Punjab and Haryana high court on November 17, his followers would approach the President to seek permission to end their lives.Kapoor said it injustice that the court was intent on summoning a man who was ill. “We’ll ask the President and Santji be given time to recover to be able to appear in court. If the President declines, we’ll ask him to let us take our lives,” he added.
Arya Samajis want Rampal held
Reacting to the lawlessness at Barwala over the Satlok Ashram controversy, Arya Pratinidhi Sabha has demanded the immediate arrest of Rampal. Sabha general secretary here Rampal Arya said here on Friday that Rampal had avoided a murder case hearing even in 2006 by ordering his followers to take over the court. Arya said human shield or no human shield, the state government should dig him out. Rampal and the Arya Samajis have old enmity over a clash of beliefs that has led to violence in 2006 and even this year.