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Who is self-styled godman Rampal?

A look at the rise of the self-styled godman.

india Updated: Oct 11, 2018 12:53 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Rampal,Rampal verdict,Rampal Hisar
Devotees of self-styled godman Rampal Maharaj(AFP File Photo)

A court in Hisar is set to pronounce its verdict in two cases of murder against self-styled godman Rampal on Thursday.

The first case involves the death of a woman at Rampal’s Satlok Ashram. The second murder case pertains to the death of four women and a child near the same ashram during clashes between his supporters and security forces when the police had come to arrest Rampal in November 2014 following orders of Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Here’s a look at the rise of the self-styled godman.

Rampal was born to a farmer at a village in Sonepat district of Haryana. He did a diploma from the Industrial Training Institute (ITI) in Nilokheri, Karnal. He grew popular after touring Haryana as a bhajan singer, and then drew on his following within the Kabir sect to set up his Satlok Ashram (religious centre) in 1999.

His website says Rampal left his “job after having worked for 18 years, so that the people could be shown the true path”.

Rampal first ran into trouble for derogatory remarks against Arya Samaj. In 2006, he and his followers had violent clashes with supporters of the Arya Samaj. The clash claimed the life of a 20-year-old man and Rampal was arrested along with 38 of his followers on murder charges.

Rampal was arrested after a tense standoff between some his supporters and the police after close to 15,000 of his followers were evacuated from the sprawling ashram premises in 2014.

The standoff had then turned violent, resulting in the death of five persons.

Rampal had resisted a police operation for his arrest on the Punjab and Haryana high court orders. He had even refused to appear in the high court to reply to charges like contempt of court. He had holed himself up inside his ashram in Barwala, Hisar.

First Published: Oct 11, 2018 12:53 IST