Godman Rampal in jail, followers put up show of strength in Rohtak, lure supporters with laddoos, jalebis | india news | Hindustan Times
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Godman Rampal in jail, followers put up show of strength in Rohtak, lure supporters with laddoos, jalebis

More than 3.5 lakh kg of laddoos and jalebis were prepared and distributed among followers, who thronged the mega event aimed at flaunting the clout he wields three years after his

india Updated: Jun 09, 2017 18:10 IST
HT Correspondent
Devotees of self styled godman Rampal come to pay their respects to him on Kabir Jayanti in Rohtak on Friday.
Devotees of self styled godman Rampal come to pay their respects to him on Kabir Jayanti in Rohtak on Friday.(Manoj Dhaka/HT Photo)

The followers of controversial godman Rampal, who is in jail for murder and sedition, put up a show of strength in Rohtak on Kabir Jayanti on Friday, wooing people with sweets.

More than 3.5 lakh kg of laddoos and jalebis were prepared and distributed among followers, who thronged the mega event aimed at flaunting the clout he wields three years after his arrest.

Supporters carrying sweets to be distributed among the followers on Friday. (Manoj Dhaka/HT Photo)

“More than 350 cooks prepared 3,000 quintals of sweets for four days for the gathering, comprising 20 lakh devotees,” says Aman Dass, one of the organisers.

Ever since his arrest in 2014, Rampal’s supporters have put up a show of strength during court hearings by gathering in thousands. As a result, he deposes via video conferencing.

But commuters faced the brunt on Friday as his supporters from across Haryana, Rajasthan, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh arrived in buses and private vehicles, forcing the police to divert traffic from the highway.

The organisers pitched tents on 25 acres adjoining Gohana road, where they played Rampal’s recorded message on projectors for three hours.

Rampal supporters solemnised weddings without exchange of dowry during the event on Friday. (Manoj Dhaka/HT Photo)

During the event, the organisers solemnised the wedding of 50 women from a humble background without dowry.

POLICE ON ALERT

The opposition to the event from Arya Samajis put the police on alert. The godman’s supporters have had a history of clashes with the Arya Samajis. They forced Rampal supporters to shift base from Karontha village in Rohtak to Barwala in Hisar after clashes between 2006 and 2013.

Friday’s gathering saw a boost with supporters of the All India Jat Arakshan Sangharsh Samiti lending support by reaching in large numbers. They said they were returning the favour of Rampal supporters who backed them in March during the Jat agitation for job quota. The bonhomie surprised everyone since Jats, mostly Arya Samajis, don’t get along with Rampal supporters.

VIOLENT PAST

Rampal has been at loggerheads with the Arya Samaj since 2000. In 2006, his remarks for an Arya Samaj leader resulted in a clash at his ashram in Rohtak’s Karontha village in which 20-year-old Arya Samaji Sonu was killed

Rampal was booked for murder and attempt to murder, and was jailed. Similar clashes have erupted in Haryana. After Rampal got bail in 2008, he skipped court hearings 40 times, forcing the court to issue non-bailable warrants against him in 2014.

When the police reached to arrest him at his ashram in Hisar, his armed followers formed a human shield and prevented cops for arresting him for several days

The supporters of the founder of Satlok Ashram, once a popular socio-culture movement in Haryana, consider him a reincarnation of 15th century mystic poet and saint Kabir.