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Verdict in murder cases against self-styled godman Rampal today

Rampal and 27 of his followers were booked on charges of murder and wrongful confinement after four women and a child were found dead in Satlok Ashram in Barwala town of Hisar on November 19, 2014.

india Updated: Oct 11, 2018 11:15 IST
Hindustan Times, Hisar
godman Rampal,self-styled godman Rampal,murder
Devotees of self-styled godman Rampal Maharaj(AFP Photo)

A day ahead of the court verdict in two murder cases against self-styled godman Rampal and 27 of his followers, the administration of Haryana’s Hisar on Wednesday deployed more than 4,000 police personnel, besides the Rapid Action Force (RAF) and paramilitary troops, to maintain law and order in the district and surrounding areas.

To maintain the law and order situation, operation of trains from different parts of Rajasthan, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana to Hisar has been stopped today, reported news agency ANI.

The court of additional district and sessions judge (ADJ) DR Chalia will pronounce the verdict in the 2014 cases on Thursday. The administration is concerned that thousands of followers of Rampal might throng the city as they have done on similar occasions in the past. Violence unleashed by followers of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh after he was found guilty of rape in August last year left more than 30 people dead.

Final arguments in the cases against Rampal, head of Satlok Ashram, and his followers were completed on Monday.

Rampal and 27 of his followers were booked on charges of murder and wrongful confinement after four women and a child were found dead in Satlok Ashram in Barwala town of Hisar on November 19, 2014.It followed police action to arrest him after a clash of his followers with local residents.

Another case was registered against Rampal and his followers after a woman was found dead in his ashram on November 18. A total of 80 witnesses, including doctors who conducted the postmortems on the victims, deposed during the trial, said Rampal’s counsel MS Nain.

Deputy commissioner (DC) Ashok Kumar Meena said the police and paramilitary forces took out a flag march in Hisar city, adjoining villages, and near the central jail where Rampal is lodged.

The DC had imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) in the district on Monday.

The administration has formed teams under the leadership of 27 sub-divisional magistrates (SDMs) and 40 deputy superintendent of police (DSPs) to ensure law and order.

Besides DC Meena, inspector general of police (Hisar range) Sanjay Kumar and Hisar superintendent of police (SP) Shiv Charan will closely monitor the situation.

‘Police may use force, if need be’

Talking to HT, DC Meena said, “No one will be allowed to breach law and order...Police will deal in a strict way if anyone is found disturbing peace in the district.”

He added that if required, the police will also use force to maintain law and order.

The internet services, he said, could also be barred, if the need be, though no such orders have been given so far.

In a recent letter to the DC, the Hisar SP anticipated that between 10,000 to 20,000 followers of Rampal can reach Hisar ahead of the verdict.

Police officials said though no followers had entered the city on Wednesday, they might arrive on Thursday using different means of transport, including trains and buses.

Meanwhile, IG Sanjay Kumar held a meeting of seven IPS officers who have already reached Hisar under the leadership of DIG B Satheesh Balan and assigned them duties. Police spokesperson Harish Bhardwaj said the IG directed the police officials to maintain a strict vigil.

First Published: Oct 11, 2018 06:16 IST