People commuting on the Hisar court road and visiting the nearby mini-secretariat had to face great inconvenience on Friday as followers of self-styled godman Rampal had assembled in area to show their solidarity with their guru who was to appear in a local court for hearing .
The followers of Rampal, who is lodged in Hisar jail, stayed put in the area till evening even as he was not produced by the police in the court.
Superintendent of Police (SP) Satinder Singh told HT that they arranged Rampal's hearing in the court through videoconferencing due to security seasons.
Meanwhile, his followers kept the policemen who were deployed at the mini-secretariat adjacent to the court on their toes. They were forced to come out repeatedly on the road to push the followers back who were swelling in numbers to keep them away from the road to keep it clear for the commuters.
Police personnel were manning all the gates leading to court complex and the mini-secretariat to stop Rampal's followers from barging in.
However, the followers made several attempts to enter the secretariat the pretext of having some work inside and many a time policemen were seen chasing them.
The common visitors to the mini-secretariat also had to face queries of the police who could not take any chances due to security reasons.
The local residents expressed their anguish over the matter, saying they had to face inconvenience every time the accused was brought to the court.
"I don't understand why Rampal's hearing dates are fixed so frequently with little gaps in between. It is not like the case will be closed in next few months only. So why not save everyone by having his hearing dates after longer gaps," said Surinder Kumar, a visitor to the secretariat. Kumar was first stuck in a traffic jam on the main road outside the secretariat caused by the presence of Rampal followers and later he had to face a barrage of questions posed by police manning the gate.
Sarita Devi, who came to the court in connection with a land dispute case, was stopped at the gate by the police. It was her lawyer who had to come to her rescue to save her from the police probing. "No one suffers but the common man," Sarita said.
Police, on other hand, expressed their helplessness. "Maintaining law and order is our duty and we will do it to our fullest," police public relations officer Chander Bhan said.
Rampal was arrested in November last year after a two-week stand-off between his supporters and the police at the Satlok Ashram in Barwala. Around 15,000 of his followers were evacuated from the sprawling premises.