Rampal's No Pal To Villagers
File under: Gurus Doin' Time
Murder and mayhem are two things you don't want around your ashram if you are looking to attract rich Western disciples, but that's exactly what you get at Swami Rampal's Satlok Ashram in Rohtak, Haryana, India. Apparently, the locals were pissed at the swami for dissing another sect popular in the area, the Aryasamaj. People from 27 surrounding villages got together at a meeting to decide how kick Rampal and his followers out of the ashram. Some person or persons must have whipped the crowd into a frenzy, because 1000 angry youth surrounded the ashram and began to riot. But they probably weren't counting on the Swami going all gangsta' on them:
As the mob approached the ashram, the preacher’s followers, armed with guns and other firearms, began firing at the mob indiscriminately. They also pelted brickbats. Since the followers of the preacher were at a height, the youths became sitting ducks.One youth was killed and nearly 60 injured. It took multiple assaults by riot cops to quell the disturbance and get folks to go home. It was apparently the last straw in a dispute that's been simmering for a while:
The preacher has earned the wrath of the people of this area because of his controversial views on Arya Samaj. The entire belt is a stronghold of the Samaj and residents of nearby villages have been demanding the ashram’s closure for several years.The cops now have the ashram surrounded, but apparently the Swami hasn't been busted yet. A local official announced funds for the family of the deceased, including a job for a family member, as well as funds to cover the medical expenses of the injured. He also promised "stern action" against the Swami and his set of straight gangsta' devotees.
Fresh trouble arose on July 8 when the preacher’s followers blocked traffic on both sides of the ashram, demanding release of two persons detained by the Jhajjar police in connection with a criminal case...
In retaliation to the blockade, residents of nearby villages blocked all approaches to the ashram on Sunday. The ashram men lifted their blockade yesterday but the villagers did not allow those stranded inside the ashram to go.
Power and water supply to the ashram had been cut off several days ago.