Self-styled godman Satguru Rampalji Maharaj Photo: Hindustan Times

A Hisar court acquitted a self-styled godman, Satguru Rampalji Maharaj, on Tuesday in connection with two criminal cases against him and his followers, after both eyewitnesses and the complainant turned hostile, according to media reports.

The guru, better known as Rampal, was arrested in 2014 after his devotees, armed with stones, lathis and guns, protected him from policemen who had stormed his ashram in Hisar, about 170 km northwest of Delhi. After a week-long standoff that killed six people, the police arrested him for ignoring more than 40 summons to appear in court to face a murder charge.

Rampal was cleared on Tuesday of obstructing government servants from performing their duty and wrongful confinement of people. But he will remain in jail as he faces eight other charges.

Public prosecutor Rajesh Chaudhary said, “Besides these two [cases], there are few more criminal cases yet pending against him that includes heinous crimes. Thus, he shall continue to stay in jail.”

The 66-year-old is the head of Satlok Ashram, a sect that worships the 15th-century poet and mystic Kabir, who is known for his message of tolerance.

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