Self-styled Godman Rampal sentenced to life imprisonment on charges of murder and wrongful confinement

Self-proclaimed Godman Rampal was today sentenced to life imprisonment in connection with two murder cases in 2014 by a Hisar court. He was convicted by the court last week on charges of murder and wrongful confinement.

Self-styled Godman Rampal along with his 26 devotees of Hisar’s Satlok Ashram was convicted last week by the Hisar court in two separate cases of murders and other offences. While declaring the verdict, the court said that Rampal will remain in the jail till the end of his life. Four women and a child had died in 2014 near Rampal’s ashram, during a clash between the police and Rampal’s supporters, when police came to arrest Rampal.

Rampal was convicted in both the cases on October 11. A makeshift court was set up in Hisar’s central Jail where Rampal and his followers were held for the verdict and the quantum of punishment.

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After hearing the court proceedings, the Hisar Additional District and Attorney Judge D R Chaliya held godman Rampal and his followers guilty of the murders and other offences, including wrongful imprisonment of victims at his hermitage. Two cases were lodged against Rampal and his followers at Barwala police station on November 19, 2014. The first FIR was lodged on the complaint of Shivraj Mathur near Badarpur in Delhi, while the second one was lodged by Suresh of Jakhora village of Lalitpur District in Uttar Pradesh. Both of them had accused Rampal and his followers of murdering their wives in his ashram, where they were held captive by them.

Rampal is convicted in another case of a murder of a woman in 2006. The court will pronounce the verdict on the 2006 murder case tomorrow. In both the cases, Rampal was charged under section 302 (murder) and section 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code. The police had come to arrest Rampal for the 2006 murder case when thousands of his supporters had clashed with the security forces in his Barwala ashram in November 2014.

Rampal once worked as an engineer in Haryana’s irrigation department. Inspired by Swami Ramdevanand, he later abjured Hinduism and embraced Kabir Panth, a sect based on the teachings of medieval period poet Kabir. Later, he founded the Satlok Ashram in Haryana’s Rohtak and rose to prominence and became one of the most notable leaders of Kabir Panth sect.

Rampal was arrested on November 19, 2014, after over two weeks of clashes between security personnel and his supporters. There were also allegations on him that he had ordered his supporters not to release the people confined inside.

Haryana police, fearing law and order situation like the aftermath of Gurmeet Ram Rahim’s arrest that led to violent clashed and dozens of deaths in Panchkula last year, had positioned over 2000 personnel in Hisar prior to the pronouncement of the verdict. Section 144 had also been imposed over the city.

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