The controversial self-styled Godman Rampal was held guilty by Hisar Court on Thursday on Thursday in both the cases of murder filed against him. All the accused including his supporters have been convicted in the murder charges.
Who is Rampal?
Founder of the Satlok Ashram in Rohtak district, Rampal was formally regarded as ‘Jagatguru Rampal ji' by his followers. Born as Rampal Singh Jatin in Dhanana village in Sonepat district, he obtained his diploma from Industrial Training Institute in Nilokheri, after which he worked as a junior engineer in the Haryana Government's irrigation department. Rampal was supposedly a devout follower of the Hindu deities such as Lord Krishna, Hanuman. But after he met Swami Ramdevanand, he immediately abandoned Hinduism and went on to become a self-styled godman, claiming to be the successor of Kabir.
According to his website, he has lakhs of followers in Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Punjab, West Bengal and other states who have given up alcohol, marijuana, smoking, meat, egg etc after taking “Satnaam Updesh” from him.
Rampal had criticized the Arya Samaj section in the year 2006 following which clashes broke between his followers and Arya Samaj supporters. Rampal was arrested after the murder of an Arya Samaj follower during the protest. He was arrested following murder charges against him. He spent several months in jail and then was released on bail in 2008.
But later in November 2014, the court again ordered for his arrest when he failed to appear for the hearing of his trial multiple number of times. On 19 November 2014, when he was finally arrested along with 492 of his followers, which came after violent clashes that broke between his followers and police forces leading to six deaths in his ashram. They all were charged with sedition, murder, attempt to murder, conspiracy, hoarding illegal weapons and aiding and abetting suicide-mongers.
In another verdict on August 29, 2017, a local court had acquitted Rampal in two criminal cases, first for wrongful confinement of his followers and second for causing hindrances for public servants from performing their duties.
The special court will now pronounce the sentence on the first FIR (429) on October 16 and on the second FIR (430) on October 17.