sant rampal
Sant Rampal.

Self-styled Haryana godman Sant Rampal allegedly instigated his followers to immolate themselves to prevent policemen from entering his Hissar ashram during the raid in November last year.

The charge has been made by the police in its 5,500-page chargesheet filed against him in a trial court in Hissar on Friday. The next hearing in the case is slated for 2 March, according to The Times Of India

The controversial godman apparently saw it as a useful technique during the two-week standoff between him and the police at his Satlok Ashram in Barwala, Hissar last November.

The police have accused him and 932 others, including his sister of sedition, murder, culpable homicide not amounting to murder and obstructing public servant. 

Those chargesheeted include his aides Baljeet Singh, Ram Kanwar Dhaka, Ramavtar Singh, Ravinder Dhaka, Dharmender Singh, Jitender Singh, Ramesh Chander, Sidharth and Purshottam Saini. 

Besides provoking his followers to immolate themselves, he also used women and children as shield to thwart the police from raiding his ashram. But the police did resort to force to disperse his followers, leading to the death of six women and children.

Rampal, who was born in a family of farmers in Sonepat district, claimed himself to be an incarnation of 15th century's mystic poet Sant Kabir. 

Following his arrest, a raid on his heavily-protected ashram was conducted by the police leading to the recovery of several arms and ammunitions, including a bulletproof vehicle and a bulletproof jacket used by Rampal.