Sant Rampal’s Arrest and The Police’s Difficult Job
Owing to the recent clashes in Hisar, Sant Rampal has become a well-known personality, but for the wrong reasons.
What is the case?
In 2006, Sant Rampal criticised ‘Satyarth Prakash’, a book written by Swami Dayanand Saraswati, founder of the Arya Samaj. This resulted in a conflict between the Arya Samajis and supporters of Sant Rampal. A 20-year old person Sonu, who was involved in the conflict, succumbed to bullet wounds, and Rampal, along with some of his supporters, was booked on the charges of murder. He was soon granted bail and even after being summoned several times, he refused to appear in court. As a result, the court issued a non-bailable warrant against him. Even after his release, his supporters were again involved in a clash that lead to the death of six people. This forced the self-styled godman to go into his hiding at Satlok Ashram from where he was arrested on 19th November. Rampal’s ashrams have violated many government rules and controversy is nothing new for him.
Rampal was a junior engineer with the Haryana Irrigation Department, until 2000. He was found to be careless by his seniors and was asked to submit his resignation. After that he went on to become a self-styled godman, the result of that was seen in the past few days.
Arrest deadline, Rampal goes into hiding
Flustered by the defiance of Rampal, the high court set a deadline for Rampal’s arrest. Soon after this, Rampal called thousands of his supporters by giving them false motives such as satsangs. Seeing the huge number of followers, the government deployed an equal number of police and paramilitary forces. On Tuesday, however, as the deadline given by the police ended, the members of Rampal’s army became violent and attacked the police in disguise of the crowd.
Clashes on Tuesday
In an all out effort by the police to reduce the number of supporters in the complex, the police began a major crackdown on the supporters which was met with great degrees of violence from the crowd, interspersed with Rampal’s army’s members. Apparently, the police also attacked the journalists present on the complex, possibly to stop them from doing a negative coverage of the police’s actions. Nearly 105 policemen and 70 reporters were injured in the clashes, among others. Nonetheless, it proved to be a great success as not only were many people removed forcibly, but also the clash revealed Rampal’s real face to the supporters, who began pouring out of the complex in large numbers.
Inside the Building and Arrest
On the next day too, the police worked hard to meet the high court’s deadline. Inside the building, Rampal had been using women and children as a human shield which made it difficult for police to devise a strategy.
However, the police arrested Rampal at nearly 9pm on 19th November from his complex.
Praise for Police and Paramilitary Forces
While criticism for the administration’s delay in taking action and its improper methods can be seen on most of the news channels, the police and paramilitary forces do deserve some praise:
The administration was successful in keeping the number of casualties low, as compared to the magnitude of resistance.
The operation was carried out by the police WITHOUT FIRING A SINGLE BULLET even when they were faced by acid bombs, LPG cylinders, sophisticated weaponry and professionally trained members of Rampal’s army.
Despite the criticism, the police’s crackdown on Tuesday was very successful. The number of supporters also decreased as an aftermath of the clash.
Finally, the arrest and transportation was done strategically.[Image Attribute: IANS]