Sant Rampal Das
Rampal Singh Jatain
8 September 1951
|Other names||Baba Rampal, Sant Rampal, Rampal Dass, Satguru Rampal Ji Maharaj|
|Education||Diploma in Engineering|
|Occupation||Leader of religious sect|
|Home town||Dhanana Haryana|
|Predecessor||Swami Ramdevanand Ji Maharaj|
|Criminal status||in prison for Murders Under trial for Sedition |
|Conviction(s)||Murder, 11 October 2018|
|Criminal charge||Murder, Sedition|
|19 November 2014|
|Imprisoned at||Hisar Central Jail|
Rampal (born 8 September 1951) is an Indian religious leader (godman), who claims to be spiritual successor and an incarnation of Kabir. He is currently under a life sentence for murder in the Hisar Central jail.
In 2006, Rampal publicly objected to certain parts of Satyarth Prakash, a central book of Arya Samaj. Angered by this, Arya Samaj followers encircled  and attempted to attack Satlok Ashram Karontha. Police was also present there, however they were just mute spectators. Satlok Ashram followers retaliated. In this violent clash, an Arya Samaj follower was killed. Rampal was charged with murder and arrested. After spending several months in jail, he was released on bail in 2008. In November 2014, the court ordered his arrest on a contempt of court case. However, the presence of fifteen thousand of his followers in his Satlok ashram premises at Barwala, allegedly confined by his aides, prevented the police from arresting him for several days. He was finally arrested on 19 November 2014 after violent clashes between his followers and paramilitary police forces that led to death of 6 people. Rampal was acquitted of the charges of wrongful confinement in court on 29 August. He remains in prison on other charges including murder and sedition. On 11 October Rampal along with fourteen of his followers were convicted in two cases of murder by the Hisar court. The charges arose out of the murder of five women and an infant during the standoff while he was arrested. All the convicts were sentenced to life imprisonment along with a Rs 2 Lakh fine each in both the cases.
Rampal was born Rampal Singh Jatain in Dhanana, a village in the Gohana tehsil of Sonepat district, Punjab (part of Haryana since 1966). His father Nand Lal was a farmer, and his mother Indira Devi was a housewife. 
He obtained a diploma from the Industrial Training Institute in Nilokheri, and then worked as a junior engineer in the Government of Haryana's irrigation department. In 1995, he resigned from the job.
Rampal is married to Naro Devi. They have two sons and two daughters. The family lived in the Barwala ashram until the siege.
Initiation into Yatharth Kabir panth
According to his official biography, Sant Rampal Das was an ardent devotee of the Hindu deities Hanuman, Krishna and Khatushyam. He states that he never achieved salvation, well-being or peace as a result of this devotion. One day, he met Swami Ramdevanand, a spiritual leader of the Kabir panth. Swami Ramdevanand told him that he could not attain salvation through the prevalent religious practices, which were a "false web" spread by the Hindu trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh, along with their parents Brahm ("Kaal Niranjan") and Durga ("Ashtangi Aadi Maya").
Sant Rampal Das states that he then studied several spiritual books, including Bhagavad Gita, Kabir Sagar, Sat Granth by Garib Das, and "all the Puranas". He claims to have found evidence supporting the statements of Swami Ramdevanand in these books. He claims that he started an intense jaap (meditative repetition of naam or god's name), after which he started experiencing "mental peace and extreme happiness".
In 1994, Swami Ramdevanand asked him to start preaching. He gained local popularity by touring various villages and cities in Haryana. He became so busy that he resigned from his job in May 1995. His resignation was formally accepted in 2000, with effect from 1995.
In 1999, Rampal founded the Satlok Ashram in Karotha village of Rohtak district, drawing on his following from within the Kabir panth. At that time, he lived in Shastri Nagar of Rohtak with his wife and two sons; his two daughters had married.
In 2006, Rampal raised objections to certain parts of Satyarth Prakash, the central text of the Arya Samaj religious sect. He termed these parts as "impractical and anti-social". This angered the followers of Arya Samaj, who surrounded his ashram, eventually resulting in a clash between the followers of two sects on 12 July 2006. During the clash, one person named Sonu was shot dead, and 59 more were injured. Rampal was charged with murder and attempt to murder, and jailed for 22 months. His followers claim that he was falsely implicated in the case. Rampal was forced to vacate the Karontha ashram.
Another complaint of forgery was filed against him a day after the 2006 clashes. According to this complaint, the sale of land for his Karontha ashram was fabricated using impersonation. Rampal's followers claim that they had no role to play in this impersonation, and the person who sold the land was at fault. On 1st May 2018, the court acquitted Rampal and his followers Rajender and Ravinder Dhaka in the land grab case registered in 2006.
After Rampal was released on bail in 2008, he set up his base in Barwala, Hisar. In 2009, the High Court returned the Karontha ashram to him. An appeal against the judgement was filed by Haryana government and Arya Pratinidhi Sabha, but was rejected by the apex court in February 2013. On 1 May 2018, Judicial Magistrate Harish Goyal of Rohtak Court acquitted Rampal and three others in Karontha Ashram land forgery case and rather held the complainants guilty.
After obtaining bail, Rampal did not appear in court regularly, for trial in the murder case. His followers were inside the karontha ashram when Arya Samaj-affiliated villagers in an attempt to attack the ashram clashed with the police protecting the ashram in May 2013, which resulted in death of 3 people and around 100 people were injured. Unable to check the villagers, the police forced Rampal followers to leave the Karontha ashram, and move to Barwala ashram. Arya Samaj activists demanded his arrest and trial. On 14 May 2014, he appeared in the Hissar court through a video link. On this occasion, his followers entered the court premises and created chaos. Rampal is a controversial preacher but has large number of followers in Haryana state of India and in other parts of Northern India.
In July 2014, Rampal's followers again tried to disrupt the court proceedings. In September 2014, Rampal was asked to appear before the Punjab and Haryana High Court in Chandigarh, in a contempt of court case. The local administration imposed Section 144 and deployed 2,000 police personnel to prevent his followers from entering the city. Despite this, thousands of followers gathered in the city, although Rampal did not appear before the court.
During 2010-14, Rampal skipped court hearings 42 times. He was given 'exemption from appearance' by the court to maintain the law and order situation. In 2014, the Punjab and Haryana High Court issued non-bailable arrest warrants against him after his followers were alleged of disrupting court's proceedings. When the police tried to detain him on 9 November, his followers formed human chains outside the Satlok Ashram to prevent the police from arresting him. The police tried to initiate a dialogue, and asked him to surrender. Rampal's followers announced that the police will have to kill more than 100,000 followers before arresting him.
By 18 November, his Satlok ashram in Hisar was protected by thousands of his followers who wielded lathis, sticks and other fire arms. The ashram was also protected by thousands of women devotees who blocked the entrance for several days, which prevented the police from entering it. They were allegedly confined to the premises by his aides. More than 20,000 security personnel and police forced their way into the ashram, but they could not find Rampal for arrest. The police used earth movers to break wall on rear side of ashram to find him, but were opposed by large number of followers who injured 28 police personnel in an effort to halt their entry. The bodies of five women and an 18 month old child were found in his ashram.
Rampal was arrested on the night of 19 November 2014, along with more than 900 of his followers, on charges including sedition, murder, attempt to murder, conspiracy, hoarding illegal weapons and aiding and abetting suicide-mongers.
On 29 August 2017, Rampal was found not guilty and acquitted in two cases related to wrongful confinement and obstruction of duty by Hisar court, yet, he continued to remain in judicial custody as the cases of murder and sedition were still ongoing.
On 11 October 2018, Rampal was found guilty of murder in two cases with FIR no. 429 and 430. Both cases pertain to the death of five women and an eighteen month old infant at his Satlok Ashram in Barwala in 2014 during clashes between his supporters and police. On 16 October 2018, all the convicts were sentenced to life imprisonment along with ₹2 Lakh fine each for the case 429 of murder of four women during the Satlok standoff. Additional District and Sessions Judge D.R. Chalia pronounced the punishment for Rampal and fourteen of his followers of life imprisonment and also a fine of ₹1 lakh each was imposed separately for murder and criminal conspiracy. The convicts were also awarded a sentence of two years imprisonment and fined ₹5,000 each for wrongful confinement. The jail terms were pronounced to run concurrently.
FIR no. 430 pertains to the murder of woman and infant who died in the hospital. The court in Hisar on its verdict of 11 October, held Rampal and 13 other accused, guilty. On 17 October, all the accused were sentenced to life imprisonment and a fine of ₹2 lakh for this case.
Rampal claims to be an incarnation of Kabir, whom he considers to be the supreme god. He claims that all the major religious scriptures — including Vedas, Gita, Quran, Bible and Guru Granth Sahib — name Kabir as the supreme god. Some of his followers consider him an incarnation of Kabir.
Rampal preaches against temple visits, Dowry, idol worship, donations, untouchability, adultery and "vulgar singing and dancing". He is strictly against the consumption of tobacco and alcohol as he believes that it incurs great sin and causes immense suffering in next lives.
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