Chandigarh: Tension prevailed in Haryana’s in Hisar district Saturday as thousands of followers of sect leader Rampal geared up to thwart any attempt by the police to arrest him.

Additional police personnel were brought in Saturday as police readied itself to forcibly arrest the sect leader from the Satlok Ashram complex near Barwala town, 240km from here.

Over one lakh followers have been camping outside the Ashram for over a fortnight after the Punjab and Haryana High Court issued non-bailable warrants against the sect leader earlier this month.

Rampal has been directed to appear before the court November 17. Police have execute the warrants before that date.

While Rampal, through his counsel, has claimed that he is medically unfit, his followers have said that they will not allow his arrest under any circumstances.

Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar Saturday appealed to Rampal “to present himself in the court in a peaceful manner and without any hindrance”.

The chief minister told media that everyone had to uphold dignity of the judicial system.

Khattar appealed to Rampal’s followers to cooperate in following the directions of the court.

The high court, while severely criticising police and the Haryana government last week, ordered that Rampal be produced in court November 17.

Police failed to produce him before the high court despite the court issuing non-bailable warrants against him November 5.

This was the third time that Rampal skipped appearing before the high court despite contempt proceedings against him. He failed to appear before court Nov 5 also, citing medical reasons.

The followers, some of them carrying weapons and others armed with sticks, have blocked the way to the ashram complex to prevent police and officials from arresting Rampal and taking him away.

Those blocking police entry into the ashram include hundreds of women, men and children. Volunteers of the sect have even set up a ‘commando protection force’ to prevent the police from entering the ashram and arresting their sect leader.

The controversial sect leader’s followers had indulged in vandalism in a court in Haryana’s Hisar town in July this year when he was going there for an appearance in a 2006 murder conspiracy case.

The high court took suo moto notice of the Hisar incident and summoned the sect leader to appear before it.