India police search residence of Rampal Maharaj for explosives

SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association)- Police in India have searched the residence of controversial religious leader Rampal Maharaj for explosives after arresting him.

Police detained Maharaj late Wednesday following a siege on his 12-acre property in northern Haryana state and a standoff with thousands of his supporters.

“It was a tough operation, we had to deal with hostile supporters,” police inspector Anil Kumar said, adding, “At the moment, we are trying to clear the ashram, the clearing operations are on, our personnel are inside the ashram. They are trying to find if any explosives have been hidden there.”

Haryana Chief Minister M.L. Khattar said no one was killed in the police operation, although around 100 people were injured.

The hugely popular religious leader faces a series of charges, including conspiracy to murder, and had repeatedly ignored court summons.

This led police to storming the fortified compound.

Police said it has detained more than 500 devotees, including 250 members of a “private army” committed to protecting Maharaj.

Police recovered the bodies of four women and a child inside the ashram on Wednesday, although the circumstances surrounding the deaths are still unclear.

Police believe around 2,000 followers are still inside the 12-acre compound; officers used loud-hailers to urge them to come out.





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