As the two-day siege between self-styled godman Rampal's supporters and the Haryana police ended on Wednesday night, little did the authorities expect that they would find an arsenal of illegal arms and ammunition sufficient for a mini-war against the state.
According to a Times of India report, inside the venue, police found .32 bore revolvers, .315 bore rifles,12 bore guns, and rounds of ammunition for 7.62mm rifles which are prohibited for private individuals even if they possess a firearm license.
The shocking details came to the fore today during a search conducted by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of Haryana Police, which also found a pregnancy test strip from a room adjacent to the one of Rampal in the Ashram.
The police also found a woman lying unconscious and locked in a bathroom. She was admitted to general hospital. She has been identified as Bijlesh, a resident of Ashok Nagar village in Madhya Pradesh.
Bags of arms and ammunition were also found under an elevated marble throne-like seat on which Rampal would sit and address the crowd.
Also found inside the ashram were water guns (pichkaris) used during Holi celebrations that were filled with petrol plus buckets of a pungent acid-like liquid filled in packets and glass bottles similar-- the police claim -- were thrown at them.
The team also found helmets and sticks and 20 pairs of black dresses and two tanks containing 800 litres of diesel and catapult.
Besides the ammunition, the 12-acre ashram could house at least 50,000 supporters at any given time and for 3 months.
“Outside alone, we inventoried 58 sacks of rice, wheat and pulses. There are two storerooms we have not entered yet, and over 30 vats for food, some with fresh khichdi and kheer,” a police officer told The Indian Express. Locals had earlier told reporters that Rampal was bathed in milk daily and the milk was then used to make kheer that would be distributed to devotees at the ashram.
The satsang area, where devotees would spend days together, had designated areas marked for women and men. It was also fitted with at least 10,000 fans, over a thousand ventilators besides several air-conditioners. The ashram was fitted with at least six power generators. Besides the mattresses and pillows found in the sitting area, authorities found thousands more stocked up to accommodate even more devotees.
The ashram also had an in-built polytechnic clinic fitted with x-ray machinery as well as facilities to conduct operations. Whether they were qualified doctors and surgeons to conduct such operations was not yet known. The Indian Express reports:
The polytechnic clinic was stocked with bandages, painkillers, antiseptic. Six waste buckets were filled with blood-soaked rags. There was a separate “injection room”and an “X-ray” room, the latter with a new Allengers X-ray machine. The room doubled up as an operation theatre; surgical equipment was next to the bed. Two other rooms had 15 beds with almirahs full of medicine including Asthalin, Novalin, Crocin and Combiflam.
While most of Rampal's devotees were from the lower-middle class and poor strata of society, his residence was a 4-storey complex with 24 air-conditioned rooms that had state-of-the-art elevators leading to them. His palace-like residence also had a swimming pool with a special changing area. Each of 24 rooms that had luxurious fittings, also had an attached bath as well as a safe, which the police were trying to break into. Hindustan Times reports that 'one of the rooms had a massage bed, another treadmills with Rampal staring down from huge wall posters'.
According to Express, "In the ashram, his pravachan area has a throne that also served as a lift for Rampal, who spoke from the second floor of a white marble structure fortified by glass. "
In the aftermath of the siege, besides the 2006 murder case, Rampal has also been charged with the murder of six people who were killed during the siege. With the court taking up suo motu a case of contempt, he has little chance of being handed down a sentence any less than life imprisonment.
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Updated Date: Nov 22, 2014 10:40:55 IST