Haryana ashram standoff ends

Haryana ashram standoff ends

The standoff over vacating the premises of the controversial Satlok Ashram in Haryana’s Rohtak district, which saw angry villagers resorting to violence on Tuesday morning and damaging three public transport buses, appeared heading towards conciliation on Tuesday evening even as the situation remained tense.

Followers of the controversial godman Rampal of Satlok Ashram decided to vacate the premises and were sent back to their villages in buses by the district administration amid heavy security. Ashram sources said it will be demolished.

Standoff between supporters of the controversial godman and his opponents from the Arya Samaj started on Sunday and continued until Tuesday.  The groups clashed over the piece of land where the godman’s ashram has been located. Three died and a hundred injured in Sunday’s protest as villagers belonging to the Arya Samaj alleged wrongful activities inside the ashram and demanded its control.

District administration had enforced Section 144 in the area on Monday. Deputy Commissioner Rohtak, Vikas Gupta said Sant Rampal and his supporters have been persuaded to vacate the ashram premises and let go of its possession.

Arya Samaj followers have ideological differences with Rampal. The two groups have clashed in July 2006 in which one person was killed and several injured.

Rampal had criticised the ideology of his opponents and spent 22 months in prison for murder and attempt to murder. He was released on bail in 2008.  The Supreme Court in a petition this year had ruled that the Satlok ashram can hold the premises. Earlier, Arya Samaj followers blocked NH-71 between Rohtak and Jhajjar. They laid bodies of two persons killed in police firing on the road, refusing to clear them until adequate compensation was given.

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