sant rampal
Sant Rampal.

LIVE: Operation to Arrest Sant Rampal Continues; 6 Die in Ashram Clash

17:44: "The operation to arrest Sant Rampal will continue until we take him into custody," Vashisht said.

17:42: In the clash, at least 105 policemen have been injured, Vashisht said. He added that two policemen have suffered bullet injuries. Also, some journalists have also been injured. He also said that some of Rampal's supporters threatened to burn themselves alive if the police tried to arrest him.

17:40: DGP Vashisht said that they received a phone call from ashram on Monday to inform them that the Rampal disciples have been forcibly kept inside the ashram.

17:39: Hisar police is retreating from the ashram as Rampal's supporters are reportedly throwing petrol bombs at them.

17:07: Stand-off at New Delhi's Jantar Mantar has also been reported. Sant Rampal's supporters have gathered near Jantar Mantar in protest against the "godman's" arrest.

16:08: The Hisar police has stormed Sant Rampal's ashram and gave his supporters a 30-minute deadline to evacuate peacefully.

  • Two police officials have also been injured in the firing and stone pelting. They have been taken to hospital for treatment.
  • Haryana DGP SN Vashisht said the police will continue the operation until Rampal is caught. Commenting on the attacks on mediapersons, he said the police did not stop them from covering the clash.
  • "There was no intention or operational compulsion to attack the media. We will investigate and take action. It was easiest for us not to allow the media near the ashram. We permitted 86 reporters to reach the spot," IANS quoted Vashisht as saying.
  • Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has sought a report on the attack on journalists. The mediapersons present at the site claimed that the police lathi-charged at them before asking them to move away and go to a safer distance.
  • The Ministry of Home Affairs is monitoring the situation and has asked Rampal's followers to maintain law and order, according to reports.
  • Meanwhile, Khattar has called for a meeting to discuss the issue. The Punjab and Haryana High Court has also cancelled Rampal's bail in connection with the 2006 murder case.
  • The police fired tear gas, used batons and water cannons to disperse Rampal's followers gathered outside the ashram to prevent his arrest and used bulldozers to break through the wall of the ashram, in which several of the disciples have been injured, according to news channels.
  • However, the godman's supporters have allegedly opened fire at the cops, threw stones, bricks, petrol bombs and acid pouches, trying to prevent the police from arresting him. Several journalists were also reportedly injured as the police used batons to disperse the crowd.

The Haryana police and Sant Rampal's followers clashed outside the godman's Satlok Ashram in Hisar's Barwala town as the cops tried to arrest him on Tuesday.

Issuing a fresh warrant, the court slammed the Haryana government for failing to produce Rampal on Monday and postponed the next hearing to 21 November.

"We don't buy arguments that he is not well. The state government's inability to arrest him will allow even small-time criminals to defy the law," Hindustan Times quoted the court as saying.

His spokesperson Raj Kapoor said he has been shifted from his ashram to an undisclosed location for "treatment."

Rampal was scheduled to appear before Haryana and Punjab High Court on Monday at 10am, but he did not make any appearances in the wake of medical concerns, claimed Kapoor.

Similar excuses were given on earlier occasions – 5 and 10 November – when Rampal was asked to appear before the court. However, these are only a few incidents out of 43, in which he skipped court hearings since 2010.

The 63-year-old godman is facing charges for inciting mobs and contempt of court cases apart from a murder charge in 2006, in which his followers opened fire at the villagers in Rohtak and killed one. 

Supporters Forced to Stay Outside Satlok Ashram?

On Tuesday, the disciples started leaving the ashram, which they had guarded on the orders of the godman. The disciples have claimed that they were forced to stay outside his ashram to prevent the police from arresting him.

"Baba has locked people in and is not letting them come out. I had come here for the first time," NDTV quoted one disciple as saying.

Though some of the elderly followers claimed that they were called for satsang (a spiritual gathering), they were reportedly made to sit outside the ashram for days.

Thousands of Rampal's followers including women, children and even infants were seen outside the ashram. They had gathered there for several days to prevent the police from arresting the godman.