Rampal Singh Jatin @ Rampal, cult leader

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Satguru Rampal Ji Maharaj

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Rampal: A self-styled godman who was once an engineer IANS | Nov 18, 2014

NDTV

The Times of India

Interesting facts about self-styled godman Rampal November 19, 2014 – Zee News

The Times of India

The Times of India

Amit Arora The Times of India

Sukhbir Siwach The Times of India Nov 20 2014

Manvir Saini The Times of India

Early life

Born Sep 8, 1951, in Dhanana village near Gohana town of Haryana's Sonipat district, Rampal came from a family of farmers, his official website claims.

Though he got a Diploma in engineering and became a JE, he was of a religious nature. Controversial sect leader Rampal, whose supporters on Tuesday battled the police, was once a junior engineer with the Haryana government.

Till the year 2000, Rampal was Rampal Singh Jatin, a dowdy junior engineer (JE) with the Haryana irrigation department.

After he was found 'careless' about his work, Rampal submitted his resignation. This was finally accepted in May 2000 with effect from May 1995.

Rise as cult leader

After quitting government service, Rampal devoted himself full time to becoming a cult leader. On becoming a cult head he assumed the name Satguru Rampal Ji Maharaj. Rampal met Kabir Panthi Saint Swami Ramdevanand Ji Maharaj and became a disciple of sant Kabir.Now Rampal claims to be an incarnation of the 15th century mystic poet Kabir.

Rampal is popular among a section of people, mostly from the lower strata of society. He preaches them not to worship gods, not to fast and not to indulge in other practices that the Hindu religion follows.

In 2014 refused to appear before the high court despite non-bailable warrants being issued against him. Nov 2014: His followers fought pitched battles with security forces who were closing in to arrest him as per high court directions.)

In 1988, Rampal took Naam Updesh from Kabir Panthi Sant Ramdevanand.

By 1993, Rampal was addressing satsangs.

In 1999, Rampal sets up Satlok Ashram in Rohtak’s Karontha village while in govt service.

Rampal's Satlok ashram in Karontha, Rohtak, Haryana (Photo by Getty Images)

Rampal started setting up ashrams across Haryana, including his current location at Barwala.

Rampal's hostility with Arya Samajis started from 2000 when he made derogatory remarks against Swami Dayanand Saraswati.

Material wealth

Rampal heads a dera or cult worth Rs. 100 crores and owns a fleet of luxury cars, including BMWs and Mercedes and lives an ashram in Barwala, Haryana, spread over a sprawling 12 acres.

He is said to own property in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and also in Delhi

The ashram is said to have air-conditioned rooms for important followers of Rampal and even lecture halls equipped with LED screens for the self-styled Godman, who has a Facebook page and a Youtube channel where recordings of his sermons can be viewed.

Following

Rampal is said to have over 25 lakh followers in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab and Delhi.

His Facebook page recorded over 2,000 new likes in just one day in Nov 2014 after the standoff with the police started.

The rules of the cult

See the graphic on this page.

Controversies

Controversies are nothing new for Rampal.

He was forced to vacate his ashram in Karontha in Haryana's Rohtak district, which was established in 1999, following clashes with religious groups in July 2006.

In this clash at the Karontha ashram in 2006, one person died from bullet wounds. The police charged Rampal with murder. His sect claims that he was falsely implicated in the murder case.

Rampal's supporters and followers had indulged in vandalism when he was going to a court in Hisar town July this year. The Punjab and Haryana high court took suo moto notice of the incident and summoned Rampal.

However, the godman failed to appear before the high court, forcing the court to issue non-bailable warrants against him Nov 5, 2014. He was supposed to appear before the court Nov 10 and later on Nov 17 but he did not turn up, citing medical reasons.

First brush with fame/ notoriety

The final, apocalyptic siege of Nov 2014 was not the first time Rampal's disciples have resorted to violence.They clashed with Arya Samaj followers in 2006, which his website claims, ended up swelling his army of diehard followers. As a consequence of the violence “Sant Rampalji Maharaj became famous“. Rampal and some disciples were jailed for the violence.

The 2006 incident followed Rampal's criticism of certain parts of Satyarth Prakash, an 1875 book writ ten by Arya Samaj founder Swami Dayanand Swaraswati. Arya Samaj followers consider this their central text. One person died in that incident and 59 were injured.

The violence forced the Haryana government to seize the Satlok Ashram set up by Rampal at Karontha of Rohtak district. Subsequently, Rampal moved base to Barwala.

This was after he was freed from prison in 2008 and apparently because Hisar has far fewer Arya Samajis. The godman's website boasts: “The government seized Satlok Ashram in Karontha, put Sant Rampal Ji Maharaj and some of his followers in jail. In this way, in the year 2006, Saint Rampal Ji Maharaj became famous.“

The ashram building was illegal

Large portions of Rampal's sprawling 12-acre Satlok Ashram at Barwala in Hisar district were constructed illegally and without procuring the mandatory change of land use (CLU) certificate.

This violation got exposed when the local administration initiated proceedings against the preacher after the Punjab and Haryana HC remarked that the state government was in collusion with Rampal.

The town and country planning department served notices on Rampal's trust asking it to procure CLU certification for these structures. The ashram is part of Barwala's revenue area, which was brought under “controlled area“ regulations in February 2010 and CLU certificate is mandatory for any construction in here. According to the notice, Rampal kept adding floors to the building without permission.

Hated by neighbours

Rampal, adored and worshipped by thousands, was disliked by his immediate neighbours who live near Satlok Ashram here.

Angry with the controversies involving him, villagers living near the sprawling ashram complex set on fire two vehicles belonging to the discredited guru's followers during the Nov 2014 siege. These cars were parked along the roadside around 1km away from the premises. Immediately after the preacher's arrest, the villagers danced and celebrated in front of the ashram premises.

The neighbours were upset because thousands of Rampal followers stomped on crops in the nearby fields, damaging them. Garbage from the ashram was allegedly dumped in the fields.

However, it was difficult for the villagers to raise their voice against the preacher as he used his private army to intimidate them.

Sources said at one stage during the Nov 2014 siege villagers had even urged the police to allow them to take on Rampal and his followers. Around 5,000 villagers kept strict vigil near the ashram for the past two days as they egged on the policemen to storm the place.

They also provided food and snacks to the policemen.

Cases against Rampal

Cases against Haryana godman Rampal

TNN | Nov 18, 2014 The Times of India

Following are the cases against Haryana godman Rampal.

Murder

The Rohtak district administration had sealed Satlok Ashram at Karontha village after clashes between Rampal disciples and Arya Samaj followers in July 2006 in which a youth was killed rom bullet woundsand 59 injured. Later, police booked Rampal and several of his disciples under Section 302 (murder) and arrested him. Rampal got bail after spending 22 months in jail and shifted his base to Barwala town in Hisar district.

His sect claims that he was falsely implicated in the murder case. Rampal's supporrtes had clashed with police when he was being taken to be produced in the court in connection wit the particular case. The Punjab and Haryana High Court took suo moto notice of the incident and summoned Rampal.

However, the cult leader failed to appear before the high court, forcing the court to issue non-bailable warrants against him Nov 5. He was supposed to appear before the court Nov 10 and later on Nov 17 but he did not turn up, citing medical reasons.

Forgery

Another FIR was registered against Rampal and his followers for forgery when a complaint was filed against him a day after the clash with Arya Samajis in 2006. It was alleged that Satlok Ashram at Karontha village was built on a piece of land obtained through forgery. According to a Haryana police report submitted before the sessions court in Rohtak, the land "donated" to build the ashram was "gifted" by a woman, Krishna, who impersonated the real owner Kamla in 1999. Three acres out of the over 16 acre land of the ashram belonged to four members of Kamla's family, including her brother Rajender Singh. Kamla's share was less than one acre. On its part, the ashram ridiculed all these charges in its website.

Assault

An FIR was registered against seven supporters of Rampal, including a woman, on May 5, 2013. Anil Kumar, a resident of Atawala village in Panipat district, complained to the police that the preacher's followers thrashed him at the Ashram. "They wanted me to give in writing that I am a spy of Arya Samaj. They also prepared my video recording forcing me to give statements against Arya Samaj leader," Anil said in the FIR.

Criminal intimidation

Another FIR was registered on May 9, 2013 against the followers of Rampal for issuing threats to Arya Samajis. According to the complaint filed by secretary of Haryana Gaushala Sangh Achayra Sarv Mitar, the followers of Rampal telephoned the office-bearers of Arya Samaj and threatened them.

Arya Samaj activist's murder

Three people, including a woman, were killed and around 100 injured in police firing on activists of Arya Samaj who were protesting against handing over the possession of an ashram to Rampal in Karontha village on May 12, 2013. A day after this, a murder case was registered against Rampal for allegedly killing an Arya Samaj activist Promila Devi. According to the FIR, Promila was hit by a bullet fired from the ashram when she was returning home from the farm fields. He brother Satnarayan alleged that she was shot on the instructions of Rampal.

Skirmishes with the law

Rampal has been to jail on the charge of murder and is out on bail. When his original ashram in Rohtak, also in Haryana, was attached, he relocated his headquarters to Barwala. Another ashram is under construction in Barwala not far away.,

In 2000-14, he skipped court 43 times.

2017: Acquitted in 2 cases

Manvir Saini, Rampal acquitted in 2 cases, August 30, 2017: The Times of India

 But To Remain In Jail For Five More Cases

Controversial godman Rampal was acquitted on Tuesday in two cases -obstructing government officials from discharging their duty and illegal confinement -registered against him in Hisar. The two cases against Rampal were lodged in 2014.

Rampal will, however, remain in jail as he is facing trial in five more cases, including sedition and murder.

Hisar judicial magistrate first class, Mukesh Kumar, acquitted the 66-year-old head of Satlok Ashram in Barwala, through video conferencing, citing lack of evidence. Rampal, who is lodged in the Hisar jail, appeared in the designated courtroom inside the jail.

Rampal was arrested in November 2014 after his followers fought a pitched battle with the police when they had gone to his ashram to serve arrest warrants in a contempt of court case. At least six women were killed in the clashes.

Rampal and his aides were charged with obstructing government officials from performing their duty and wrongful confinement of followers in the ashram.Rampal allegedly didn't allow his followers to leave the ashram when Haryana police had surrounded the complex to arrest him.

2018: HC finds Rampal guilty of murder- I

Kumar Mukesh, Haryana: Self-styled godman Rampal found guilty in two murder cases, October 11, 2018: The Times of India


A local court in Hisar convicted self-styled godman Rampal and 22 others in a murder case.

The case is related to the deaths of five women and a child after security forces stormed into Rampal's ‘Satlok’ Ashram in Barwala (Hisar) in November 2014 to arrest him in a contempt of court case.

All 23 accused, including Rampal, were found guilty for murder, illegal confinement and criminal conspiracy. The quantum of sentence would be pronounced on October 16 and 17.

Special court of additional district and session judge, DR Chalia, passed the orders while holding a court inside the central jail Hisar, where the accused are confined.

Rampal and his followers were booked in November 2014 for the murder and several other serious charges after he had stubbornly challenged the directions of high court, in which the court had asked him to appear in person in relation to a contempt of court matter.

As many as 5,375 security personnel, from the state and central forces, were deployed by the Haryana government to arrest Rampal and his aides from the Barwala-based ashram after ten-day-long operation which had ended with his arrest on November 19, 2014.

The entire operation carried to catch Rampal had cost Rs 26 crore to the exchequer. In March 2015, police had submitted challan against him and in July this year, a local court in Hisar had framed charges against him under various serious charges.

Another life term for Rampal- II

Murder case: Another life term for Rampal, October 18, 2018: The Times of India


A Hisar court sentenced selfstyled godman Rampal and his 13 aides to life imprisonment without remission in connection with a 2014 murder case. The judgment came six days after conviction in two cases of murder.

A local court had awarded Rampal and his 14 followers life sentence in a murder case. Six convicts, including Rampal, are common accused in both the cases.

While sentencing the 14 convicts, including Rampal, in the second case, Hisar additional sessions judge D R Chalia lso imposed a fine of Rs 2.05 lakh on each of them. The court sentenced them to life imprisonment and Rs 1 lakh fine for murder, life imprisonment and Rs 1 lakh fine for criminal conspiracy and two-year imprisonment and Rs 5,000 fine for illegal confinement.

Rampal gets life term in murder case- III

Kumar Mukesh, Preacher gets life term in murder case, October 17, 2018: The Times of India


A local court sentenced controversial preacher Rampal and 14 of his followers to life imprisonment without remission in a murder case. The court also directed them to pay Rs 2 lakh as fine.

Both the cases relate to the death of five women and a child when police stormed Rampal’s Satlok Ashram at Barwala in Hisar in November 2014 to arrest him for defying orders of the Punjab and Haryana high court.

Rampal’s army

Rashtriya Samaj Sewa Samiti (R.S.S.S.)

R.S.S.S. functions like an army battalion divided into several companies & platoons.

Each company and platoon is headed by trained commanders.

During the standoff with the state police in Nov 2014 they assembled every morning and evening to be briefed about day’s routine. Armed with pistols, R.S.S.S.’s Quick Reaction Team patrol ashram round the clock.

Intelligence wing monitors police movement in adjoining Barwala and Hisar towns.

The Intelligence wing relays information to ashram HQ. What cops were up against were: Armed men, acid tankers, crude bombs, petrol bombs, oil, empty bottles

4,000 men from Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Haryana guard ashram 24x7

They are armed with sophisticated pistols and guns

Rampal’s army dress in black and are strategically deployed over the 12-acre sprawl

Rampal's army communicates via walkie-talkies

Rampal’s rambos are controlled from a war room in the ashram

The Nov 2014 clash with the law

Charged with sedition or waging war against the nation, the controversial guru is believed to be holed up inside the ashram right now along with 5000 supporters.

Four women and a baby died at the ashram, where his followers, who call themselves 'Baba's Commandos', clashed with the police in Nov 2014, using acid, bombs and guns to prevent his arrest ordered by a High Court.

The police said they were not able to storm the ashram as Rampal has been using women and children as shields.The ashram's walls are over 30 feet high and two feet wide.

However, on 19 Nov 2014, the Haryana police was able to arrest Rampal.

The siege of 5-19 Nov 2014

Rampal.jpg
Rampal 2.jpg
Rampal 3.jpg

The Haryana Police went to arrest Rampal after he defied summons and fell in contempt of court, with the Punjab and Haryana high court issuing non-bailable warrants against him on November 5.

Squeezed inside his 12-acre ashram by authorities, Rampal held out against the cops for almost 15 days with his groupies creating a human shield of nearly 15,000 followers from different parts of the country. To deter them from arresting Rampal, they had laid elaborate security plans for the ashram with armed militia at vantage points.

"Despite firing from private weapons from within the ashram and other kind of attacks, police did not fire or retaliate. All this was to ensure that innocent people don't suffer, said principal secretary to chief minister Sanjeev Kaushal.

Five women and an 18-month-old infant were killed in violence against the police, and more than 200 people injured including around 70 journalists and 105 policemen.

After police stopped the operation on 18 Nov evening, the management had closed all the gates, suffocating people inside the 12-acre covered area. Tear gas shells and smoke added to the devotees' woes.

As the power connection to the ashram was cut for the last five days, the atmosphere inside turned dark, hot and humid. Even the exhaust fans mounted on the roof had stopped working and the devotees started complaining.

No power supply, suffocation, shortage of food, lack of drinking water and exhaust fans forced Rampal's followers to flee

The devotees were not in touch with their family for days together as their mobile batteries exhausted after the power supply was cut

10 days sleepless nights demoralized them

Death of some followers due to police action spread panic

Finally, it was Rampal's followers, who were his biggest strength, did him in on Wednesday. The staunch supporters of the controversial preacher started crumbling after the police action and around 2,500 of them challenged the ashram management around 11pm.

According to sources, they told the management that they wanted to leave the ashram. The management threatened them saying if they leave Rampal now, they should not come back to the ashram ever. However, they walked out of the premises and waiting police force took them to the bus stand.

With some of the followers walking out, other also followed suit and then a steady flow of people from the ashram continued till late in the evening. Around 10000 people had come out of the ashram without any confrontation

On the 15th day of brazen defiance of the judiciary and the police, controversial preacher Rampal was arrested outside his Satlok Ashram - the scene of pitched battles between his followers and the police - on 19 Nov 2014 around 9.30pm.

492 of his followers were arrested for violence and 71 of them jailed after appearing in a Hisar court. Those imprisoned included Rampal's key aide Purushottam Das. The goons had attacked police with firearms and Molotov cocktails - petrol and diesel bombs - when they had stormed the ashram on 18 Nov, leaving many cops badly injured.

Taxpayers spent Rs 26 crore on the siege

The Times of India

The Punjab, Haryana and central governments and the Chandigarh Union territory spent over Rs 26 crore on the recent 15-day standoff with controversial preacher Rampal and the security arrangements made for producing him in court. Haryana spent the maximum amount of Rs 15.43 crore, while Punjab shelled out Rs 4.34 crore.The Centre spent Rs 3.55 crore and the Chandigarh administration incurred a cost of Rs 3.29 crore on security arrangements after anticipating trouble during Rampal's arrival in the city.

Besides personnel from the police of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh, many companies of paramilitary and anti-riot squads of the Rapid Action Force were deployed for security in Haryana during the 15-day operation.

See also

Godmen and cult leaders: India <> Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Ji Insan <> Rampal Singh Jatin @ Rampal, cult leader <>

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