The godman at the centre of the controversy
Sant Rampal, the godman who heads the Satlok ashram and has purchased land for an ashram in Rohtak, is at the centre of the controversy. Despite being around since 1999, he has faced the ire of followers of the Arya Samaj since 2006 when he first chose to target a book written by Arya Samaj founder Swami Dayanand Saraswati in 1875.
Rampal had reportedly termed some of the inscriptions in the text as being "impractical and anti-social" and also allegedly made some derogatory references to the Arya Samaj founder. Clashes between the Arya Samaj and the godman's followers took place in July 2006 in which one person was killed.
Rampal was booked for murder and attempt to murder and was in jail for 22 months until he was released on bail in 2008. After emerging from jail, Rampal set up camp in Barwala which is not close to the Arya Samaj strongholds but they had a problem with his growing influence in the region.
Reportedly patronised by local politicians, Rampal had taken possession of the contentious ashram in Rohtak again in April this year which is why Arya Samaj followers had organised a protest rally and had put up posters across the city calling for support.
What caused the face-off:
Arya Samaj followers were reportedly marching to Rampal's ashram which was set to be innaugurated yesterday.
The crowds, were objecting to the opening of the ashram at Karontha village, around 10 km from Rohtak. Nearly 10,000 supporters of Rampal had gathered inside the ashram complex to respond to any attack on the premises.
The protestors marched towards the ashram when they were stopped by the police on the Rohtak-Jhajjar national highway. Police officials have claimed that protesters had firearms with them and had fired, while protesters claimed that the police attack on them was unprovoked.
The police charged at the mobs with canes and fired tear-gas shells to disperse them and the protestors retaliated by pelting stones at the police force.
Police officials said that the protestors went on a rampage and damaged Haryana Roadways buses, ambulances and police vehicles.
114 persons were injured, and were admitted to the Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences (PGIMS) in Rohtak. This included nearly 50 police personnel. At least six of the injured had gunshot injuries.
Three persons succumbed to their injuries.
2, 500 police personnel and three companies of the para-military forces have been deputed at the site and the Chief Minister has ordered a magisterial inquiry.
Your guide to the latest cricket World Cup stories, analysis, reports, opinions, live updates and scores on https://www.firstpost.com/firstcricket/series/icc-cricket-world-cup-2019.html. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram or like our Facebook page for updates throughout the ongoing event in England and Wales.
Updated Date: May 13, 2013 14:10:56 IST