One should normally refrain from commenting on controversy involving individuals considered spiritual incarnations by their followers. Religion related issues are sensitive. However when there is conflict of any such entity with the law the government should be left with no choice. All have equal right under the law and no exceptions can be made. Others claiming religious authority might then also demand equal immunity to destabilize law and order. These thoughts occur during self-proclaimed Godman Rampal’s defiance of law.
The Godman has a long list of criminal complaints against him. After a clash involving his followers and Arya Samaj believers in 2006 he was charged with murder. After a stint in jail he got bail. He was charged with forgery for obtaining land for his Ashram through false documents. He was charged with assault for threatening Arya Samaj followers in 2013. He was charged with causing death of a protesting woman activist of Arya Samaj shot by his followers in 2013. Rampal’s followers claim all charges to be falsely leveled by Arya Samaj adherents. One cannot ascertain the truth of these allegations.
What cannot be denied is the armed resistance offered by a sizable section of Rampal’s armed followers called his commandos. Nor can one deny Rampal evading arrest despite repeated summons. For the last twelve days he was reportedly holed up in his Ashram. The police strangely could not arrest him because his followers attacked them with guns and bombs. Over 250 had been injured. Rampal’s followers stationed women and children as a human shield to prevent police action. The Court issued a non-bailable warrant against Rampal on November 5, renewed on November 17. It issued a third warrant for his appearance by November 21. On the government’s failure to produce him the court threatened contempt proceedings against the new BJP Chief Minister Mr. ML Khattar. Very soon thereafter the police arrested Rampal.
Does not the prompt arrest after the court ultimatum suggest that the failure to arrest him for twelve days earlier was deliberate?
Godmen with their huge followings offer attractive vote banks to political parties to create a dangerous nexus between them and politicians. Does such nexus exist between Rampal and the BJP? The police failure to arrest him for a fortnight was strange. Stranger still was that instead of arresting him the police attacked media personnel peacefully covering the event. Many journalists were injured and bleeding after a vicious police cane charge. Strangest was Home Minister Mr. Rajnath Singh’s reaction when Rampal’s followers met him at his residence seeking intervention. The Minister accepted their memorandum seeking prevention of Rampal’s arrest but gave no assurances. The Minister also said he would comment on the police assault against journalists after studying facts. Did he not see the footage of the incident on TV cameras? Developments related to the case will be watched closely. Not Godmen but Godfathers create nexus with politicians for protection. Thus far the Haryana BJP has delivered manipulated government and minimum governance.