Controversial godman Rampal, who had been defying the judiciary and the police during the past two weeks, has been arrested from his Satlok Ashram in Barwala. His arrest ended the nearly two-week standoff between his supporters and security personnel, which escalated into violence and high drama. Rampal was taken in an ambulance to Chandigarh and was produced before the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Earlier, Rampal was medically examined in Panchkula, with a doctor describing his major health parameters as "stable".
Rampal’s arrest came hours after thousands of his supporters made a mass exodus from the ashram. Till Wednesday, more than 16,000 people had left the ashram. No violence or confrontation took place at all. Media reports put the number of those still inside the ashram at 2,000. Many of those who left the ashram had come for a satsang and wanted to leave for the past four days but they were kept hostage by the ashram management. Guarded by a large security cordon, they were taken to bus station, railway station and other nearby towns.
Police confirmed that six bodies, including those of five women and an 18-month-old child had been found but no bullet marks were found on their bodies. Most likely, the cause of death was lack of timely medical care, the police said. Mounting further pressure on Rampal, the police have also slapped fresh charges of sedition and waging war against the government in a separate case.
With the High Court cancelling his bail in the 2006 murder case, Rampal’s woes have started mounting. The High Court, in its latest order, has asked the Haryana Police and the Chief Secretary to file affidavit regarding the expenses incurred on his arrest and his property at different places. The self-styled godman is involved in a long-standing case of murder and has defiantly avoided honouring the court summons 42 times in the past 6 years.