Home Minister Rajnath Singh has advised the supporters of self-styled godman Rampal to follow rule of law and cooperate with authorities which is trying to arrest the controversial man in the wake of an order by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
Five supporters of Rampal on Tuesday met the Home Minister and requested him to withdraw the police barricade from his ashram in Hisar where violent clashes broke out.
Sources said the Home Minister advised Rampal’s supporters to follow rule of law and act as per the order of the High Court.
Singh told Rampal’s supporters that the central government cannot interfere in the High Court’s order and everyone must obey the directive of the court, sources said.
Earlier in the day, Violent clashes broke out at the Satlok Ashram of self-styled ‘godman’ Rampal in Barwala, Hisar leaving over 200 persons, including security and media personnel, injured, as efforts to arrest him were met with stiff resistance by his supporters who allegedly fired at the police and lobbed ‘petrol bombs’.
Three FIRs have been slapped against Rampal and his supporters, state DGP S N Vashisht told reporters in Chandigarh.
Police lobbed teargas shells and resorted to lathicharge to disperse Rampal’s supporters who allegedly fired back, leaving over 200 persons, including over 100 policemen, followers and several media personnel, injured.
Tension mounted as supporters of Rampal refused to heed to repeated announcements by the police over loud speakers to allow them to enter the premises to arrest him.
The DGP said firing had taken place from inside the Ashram from where people pelted stones, hurled petrol bombs and acid bottles at the security personnel.
Two policemen suffered bullet wounds. One woman sustained serious burn injuries and it remained unclear how she sustained these, the DGP said.
He said police operations would continue till Rampal, who is “definitely” holed up inside the ashram, is brought out, and produced before the Punjab and Haryana High Court at Chandigarh, which has issued a fresh non-bailable warrant against him in a contempt case.
The FIRs have been slapped against Rampal as he has been held responsible for the violence and injuries to dozens and putting innocent lives at stake, he said.
Two other FIRs have also been registered, he said. One is in connection with the failed self immolation attempt by 50 followers by pouring diesel on them which was foiled by using water cannons.
The other is against Rampal and others for keeping followers hostage inside the Ashram.
The entire operation being carried out by police and paramilitary forces was described by Vashisht as “very tough” since they were dealing with presence of many women and children inside.
Police said that some injured had been admitted to various hospitals at Hissar, Barwala, Agroha and Uklana after being injured in the violence.
“We are committed to bringing out Rampal who is 100 per cent still inside the ashram and comply with the High Court directive,” the DGP said.
The High Court has directed the state government to produce him before it on Friday in a contempt case.