Security forces surround Haryana sect leader's complex

Barwala (Haryana): Troopers and thousands of Haryana Police personnel surrounded the complex of self-styled godman and sect leader Rampal in a Haryana town Sunday.

Sources said 15 battalions of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), five companies of the Rapid Action Force and nearly 10,000 personnel of the Haryana Police were stationed at Satlok Ashram complex near Barwala town in Haryana's Hisar district, 210 km from Chandigarh.

The Hisar-Chandigarh highway has been sealed near Barwala town.

"We have made adequate arrangements to take him into custody and produce him in court. We cannot share operational details," Hisar Superintendent of Police Satender Kumar Gupta told the media.

Rampal, a controversial sect leader who is facing charges of murder, inciting mobs and contempt of court, remained holed up inside the complex. Thousands of his supporters, including women and children, camped outside the complex for over a fortnight to prevent security forces from arresting him.

He has been directed to appear before the Punjab and Haryana High Court Monday at 10 a.m. The police have execute the warrants latest by Sunday.

The high court had severely criticised the police and the Haryana government last week for not being to arrest Rampal. Non-bailable warrants were issued against him Nov 5.

Police cordoned off all areas around 500 metres from the complex. Fire brigade vehicles, riot control vehicles, bullet-proof vehicles and ambulances have been stationed.

Though the authorities are making last-ditch efforts to make Rampal to surrender, the local administration has already snapped power and water supply to the complex.

"Contemnor Rampal is under the wrong impression that he cannot be reached even by the long arms of law. When the majesty of law is browbeaten by a contemnor, this court has the authority to direct the state machinery to employ its mighty force to reach the contemnor to smoke him out even if he holes up in bunker," a division bench of Justices M Jeyapaul and Lisa Gill had observed last week.

Authorities in the area Saturday urged thousands of his followers to disperse.

Rampal, through his counsel, had claimed that he is medically unfit and unable to appear.

Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar Saturday appealed to him "to present himself in the court in a peaceful manner".



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