Self-styled godman Rampal convicted in 2 murder cases

Self-styled godman Rampal convicted in 2 murder cases

Self-proclaimed godman Rampal and 26 of his followers were charged with murder and wrongful confinement after four women and a child were found dead in his Satlok Ashram in Barwala town in Hisar. (PTI File photo)

Another powerful self-styled Haryana godman Rampal was convicted by a court in Hisar in two cases of murder on Thursday. 

The quantum of punishment will be pronounced on October 16 and 17. Hisar, where Rampal’s sect Satlok Ashram is located, remains tense post the judgement. 

The area has been put on high alert with nearly 1800 policemen deployed to prevent a repeat of the violent protest that took place in the state after the conviction of jailed Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh last year. 

The cases against Rampal pertain to the murder of five women and a toddler inside the sect in 2014 when bloody violent clashes broke out between the police and thousands of sect followers who were resisting the arrest of the self-styled godman in another case. 

Along with Rampal, 27 of his followers have also been convicted for murder by the additional district and sessions Judge, Hisar, D R Chaliya. The judgement was pronounced to Rampal through video conferencing in the jail. The portion of the Hisar jail was turned into a courtroom where the Judge delivered the verdict. 

Rampal had evaded appearance before the Punjab and Haryana High Court in Chandigarh in another case after which the court ordered his arrest. Rampal was finally arrested in November 2014 after a two-week long stand-off between his followers and police at his Ashram in Barwala in Hisar. The standoff led to the death of five women and a child dead. 

Rampal’s counsel later on Thursday said they will move the high court against the judgement. Founder of Satlok Ashram, Rampal was a junior engineer with the irrigation department before he self-proclaimed himself as a ‘Jagat Guru’.