Deciphering Rampal: From an engineer to a self-styled godman

Controversial sect leader Rampal's journey from being a dowdy junior engineer with the Haryana irrigation department to becoming a self-styled godman

Chandigarh: Controversial sect leader Rampal, whose supporters 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 May 2000 with effect from May 1995.

After quitting, Rampal, who has refused to appear before the high court despite non-bailable warrants being issued against him, devoted himself full time to becoming a godman.

His followers Tuesday fought pitched battles with security forces who were closing in to arrest him as per high court directions.

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.

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.

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. He was supposed to appear before the court Nov 10 and later on Nov 17 but he did not turn up, citing medical reasons.

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