Days after self-styled godman, Rampal Dass, was held guilty by a local court in Haryana’s Hisar in two murder cases, he has been awarded life imprisonment.
Apart from Rampal, 28 of his followers were also sentenced on Tuesday in connection with the death of six people.
The verdict was announced on 11 October by Additional District and Sessions Judge, DR Chalia via video conferencing.
The court had convicted Rampal and his followers under Sections 302 (murder), 343 (wrongful confinement) and 120B (conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
A special court was set up inside Hisar’s Central Jail for the hearing, The Indian Express reported. Rampal is currently lodged at Hisar’s Central Jail-2.
The final arguments in the case against Rampal and 28 of his followers, also accused in the cases, concluded on Monday, 8 October.
Ahead of the verdict about 1,800 policemen were deployed to ensure that no clashes took place in the region. Additionally section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which prohibits an assembly of four persons or more, was also imposed, the report added.
Murder Cases Against Rampal
In 2008, Rampal’s supporters had allegedly opened fire on villagers in Rohtak, which had killed one person and injured several more. Rampal, subsequently, had been charged with murder and had spent 22 months in prison, Scroll reported.
In 2014, Rampal failed to show up for a court hearing relating to this Rohtak incident, despite 43 summons being issued against him. He was arrested in November, 2014.
However, a huge clash, initiated by 15,000 of his followers took place at the ashram before his arrest. The followers claimed to act as his human shield. Following several days of standoff between the followers and the police, the Haryana government decided to disconnect the power and water supply to Rampal’s ashram.
However, Rampal’s followers resorted to throwing stones and acid at the police in response. As a result of the standoff, five women and a child were killed, and over 200 people were injured, the report added. The police held Rampal responsible.
Following the violent clashes, charges relating to murder, attempt to murder, sedition, rioting and illegal detention, were filed against Rampal, Scroll reported.