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Controversial godman Rampal’s followers vacate Ashram

Last Updated: Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - 21:58

Rohtak: Nearly 3,000 followers of self-styled godman Rampal on Tuesday left Satlok Ashram following an order by the authorities to vacate the disputed place in Karontha village where tension ran high after Sunday`s pitched battles between police and protesters.

About 3,000 followers, camping inside the Ashram here, left in several Haryana Roadways buses which were pressed into service for the purpose, officials said.

Rohtak Deputy Commissioner Vikas Gupta, who issued the order, said the decision to clear the place of cult followers was taken to maintain peace and harmony.

An appeal had been made to the people to vacate the area surrounding Satlok Ashram and return home, the DC said.

The Arya Samaj activists had placed the body of the one of those killed in Sunday`s clashes near a village road and said they would not cremate it till the Ashram was cleared of Rampal`s supporters.

After the district administration`s order, the sect followers began leaving the disputed premises where they had been camping from the past three days, the officials said.

Villagers and Arya Samaj activists have been staging protests to mount pressure on the state government to order closure of the Ashram, headed by Rampal.

They also demanded adequate financial assistance for the families whose members were killed in Sunday`s clashes between protesters and police.

Adequate police force besides 500 CRPF personnel have been deployed in the trouble-torn area to maintain calm.

The row over possession of Satlok Ashram had taken a violent turn on Sunday when police tried to stop activists of Arya Pratinidhi Sabha from marching towards the Ashram.

Three people were killed and over 100, including 50 policemen, injured in the violence.

Tension has been brewing in the area for quite some time as the Arya Samajis claim the ownership of the Ashram by Rampal is illegal. Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda appealed to the protesters "to keep their emotions under control, go back to their homes and help in maintaining calm."

Action would be taken against those found guilty of indulging in violence, he said.


First Published: Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - 19:33
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