After the high drama for days, controversial sect leader Rampal, who was known as the self-styled Godman, was arrested on Wednesday evening from his Satlok Ashram at Barwala in Haryana.
Claiming himself a successor of Kabir (who is considered to be Supreme God), Rampal had questioned the belief of the Hindu trinity and held that people have been misled into following false religious practices.
The cases against Rampal have begun in 2006, when he had criticised the founder of Arya Samaj, Dayanand Saraswati, which led to violent clashes between the two sects and resulted in a follower’s death. Though he was arrested and charged with murder, the godman was released on a bail in 2008, after being in jail for 22 months.
After the incident he has failed to turn up at the court several times in 2014 and the court has ordered his arrest, which has led to current protests and attacks.
Rampal was born Rampal Singh Jatin in Dhanana village in Punjab. He was a junior engineer in Haryana government’s irrigation department. Being an ardent devotee of Hindu deities once, Rampal turned against the practice after he met Swami Ramdevanand who claimed that those who worship “false gods” never achieve salvation.
Rampal began preaching the new order or sect in 1994 and left his job in 1995. He founded his ‘Satlok Ashram’ in Haryana in 1999, and expanded it into many in just one year after he won many followers with his new preachings. Many of his followers consider him an incarnation of Kabir as he had asked his followers to never criticise him ever, lest a critic is a liar.
In the case involving Dayanand Saraswati, he has skipped the court hearings about 42 times and finally the court issued a non-bailable arrest warrant against him in November forcing the police to get him into the legal framework.
But his sect followers turned too violent and the unseen resistance turned into a major media event that ran live for almost 3 days. While the police were able to arrest him on Wednesday night from his Ashram in Hisar district of Haryana, about six persons, including a child, were found dead and many more injured.
Meanwhile, the area near the Punjab and Haryana High Court, where Rampal will be presented as per the warrant, was secured with scores of para-military forces and Chandigarh Police personnel.