Poor plans hinder efforts to nab 'guru'

Poor plans hinder efforts to nab 'guru'

Tuesday’s offensive by the police to arrest self-styled godman Rampal reflected the lack of planning and execution.

The move to arrest him comes a day after the High Court slammed the state government for not doing enough to bring him to court.

Cutting water and power supply lines to the sect premises was one of strategies the police had been relying upon for the last couple of days. In fact, on Monday, the court was informed that the inmates of the sect can survive for a maximum one week without essential supplies. But a day later, the police switch to an offensive plan to flush out Rampal.

As tear gas engulfed the area, the police did not wait for women and children to disburse and instead launched an offensive which led to more injuries. Not only did the police use brute force to evict followers, including women and the old, they made sure that a major part of the operation was not covered by the media.

In the morning, 86 journalists were given permission by the DGP to reach the spot. But soon after the offensive began, which the cops said was provoked by Rampal follower’s, newspersons were lathi-charged and driven away in fields.

TV grabs showed journalists being beaten badly and their cameras smashed. The Haryana government has also invited criticism for its failure to handle the situation. The long rope that the government gave to the sect only allowed them to mobilise their manpower and strategy.

It also remains to be answered by the government as to how the sect had so much of gun-power and other weapons inside the premises. The government also failed to ensure a settlement as per the court’s order through back channel negotiations. It would be a major embarrassment  for the state police and the government if Rampal, as is being claimed by the sect, is not inside the sect premises at the end of the operation. It would be an intelligence failure.

There is also a possibility that he could have fled disguised as a women. But the DGP is confident that Rampal is still inside and the police will soon be arrest him.

Godman’s elaborate defence strategy

Self-styled godman Rampal’s strategy to evade arrest was multi-pronged, DHNS reports from Chandigarh.

On one side, he ensured that thousands of women, children and the elderly inside the premises of his ashram were used as a human shield to prevent the cops from getting to him.

One the other hand, his marshals kept mobilising weapons to blunt the authorities' push, or at least create a situation of high resistance for the government to relent. Neither strategy worked. The women and children did stand their ground, but not for long. On Tuesday morning, several devotees poured inflammable materials on themselves and threatened to end their lives if the police attempted to storm the premises.

The police said a woman was rushed to hospital with severe burns. Another challenge for the cops was ensuring the safe evacuation of hundreds of followers, who were reportedly forced to remain inside the ashram and deter Rampal's arrest.

Also, some parts of the ashram's walls are as high as 60 feet, which was making the police's task even more difficult.

Amid all this ruckus, a team of Rampal’s supporters quickly mobilised people in the national capital at Jantar Mantar to stage protests against the police action.

Meanwhile, the National Human Rights Commission has issued a notice to the Haryana government seeking explanation over the assault on a journalists on Tuesday.

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