Hisar: Self-styled godman Sant Rampal was convicted by a Hisar court in two murder cases on Thursday. The quantum of punishment will be announced on October 16 and 17.
Rampal, who enjoys a huge fan following, is currently lodged at Hisar’s Central Jail-2. He was arrested in November 2015 after a two-week long stand-off between his followers and police which had left six dead and several others injured.
A special court was set up inside the jail — Hisar’s Central Jail-1 — to pronounce the judgment via video conference. In the wake of the verdict, nearly 1,800 policemen were deployed to maintain law and order.
To prevent a repeat of the events in Panchkula in August 2017 after the conviction of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, the police are checking every vehicle entering to the town fearing that Rampal’s followers might try to get into Hisar. The police have installed as many as 48 check posts in the town to prevent entry of anti-social elements apart from imposing prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC.
Founder of Satlok Ashram, touted as a socio-cultural movement in Haryana, 63-year-old Rampal is the head of a religious sect called Kabir Panth. Born Rampal Singh Jatin in Dhanana village in Sonepat district, Sant Rampal was popularly referred to by his followers as ‘Jagatguru Rampal Ji’. Rampal had obtained his diploma from Nilokheri’s Industrial Training Institute, after which he worked as a junior engineer in the Haryana Government’s irrigation department. He quit his job in 1996.
Rampal was supposedly a devout follower of the Hindu deities such as Lord Krishna, Hanuman. But after he met Swami Ramdevanand, he apparently abandoned Hinduism. Soon after, he went on to become a self-styled godman claiming to be the successor of Kabir, whom he believes to the supreme God. Some of his followers reportedly consider him as the reincarnation of Kabir. The Satlok Ashram was founded in 1991 in Karotha village of Rohtak district. By 2000s, he established several other ashrams as well as lapped up several followers in Haryana, notably from Jhajjar and Rohtak districts.