A sessions court in Hisar on Wednesday sentenced religious leader Rampal to life imprisonment in a 2014 murder case. The court of Additional District and Sessions Judge DR Chalia awarded the life sentence to him along with his son Virender and 12 others.
This is the second life sentence that Rampal will be serving, as on Tuesday, the same court had sentenced Rampal and 14 others to life in connection with another murder case from 2014.
Two cases of murder were registered against the 67-year-old head of Satlok Ashram in Hisar in November 2014. The two cases were lodged at the Barwala Police Station on 19 November, 2014. The first one was filed by one Shivpal of Mithapur near Badarpur in Delhi, and the second by one Suresh of Jakhora village of Uttar Pradesh's Lalitpur district.
On Wednesday, Rampal was sentenced to life in the case lodged by Suresh. On Tuesday, judge DR Chaliya pronounced the quantum of sentence in the case Shivpal lodged.
Both complainants had alleged that their respective wives' were held captive inside Rampal's Satlok Ashram and were later killed. Besides the murder charges, the Barwala Police had also invoked the offence of wrongful confinement, among others, in the two FIRs filed against it.
Rampal was convicted in the 2014 murder cases on 11 October. The court had found 29 accused, including Rampal, guilty in the case.
The spiritual leader was arrested in November 2015 after a two-week-long standoff between his followers and police, which had left six dead and several others injured. Rampal's followers and security forces had clashed at the sprawling premises of his ashram in November 2015, which led to the death of five women and a one-year-old toddler. It was believed that they died because of suffocation inside the ashram. About 15,000 of Rampal's followers were evacuated from the ashram after the standoff.
It was also alleged that some of his followers had been held hostage in the ashram during the 10-day standoff. Rampal's followers, during the clashes with security forces, had used stones, acid and petrol bombs to attack the security personnel.
The conflict began when the Punjab and Haryana High Court told the government to produce Rampal in a contempt of court case. After that, Rampal's supporters surrounded the Satlok Ashram and prevented the police from entering its premises, spread over 12 acres.
One FIR was registered against him and some of his followers under sections 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of his public function), 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty) and 353 (assault or use of criminal force to deter a public servant from discharging his duty) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
The other case was registered against Rampal and his followers — Purshotam Dass, Raj Kumar, Mohinder Singh, Rajender Singh, Rahul and 30 to 40 others — on a complaint under the IPC's sections 147 (rioting), 149 (unlawful assembly, every other member of such assembly shall be guilty of the offence), 188 (disobedient to an order lawfully promulgated by a public servant) and 342 (wrongfully confining any person).
With inputs from agencies
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Updated Date: Oct 17, 2018 15:39 PM