Amid the raging controversies surrounding self-styled "godman" and Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, the Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad (ABAP) – the apex body of Hindu Sadhus – on Sunday, September 10, released a list of "fake babas." It also demanded that a legislation be introduced to take the "rootless cult leaders" to task.
The list features 14 names, including Ram Rahim, Rampal, Asaram, and his son Narayan Sai. "We appeal to even the common people to beware of such charlatans who belong to no tradition and by their questionable acts, bring disrepute to sadhus and sanyasis," the Press Trust of India quoted ABAP president Swami Narendra Giri as saying.
The apex body is a council of akharas, who associate their lineage to 8th-century seer Adi Shankara who is said to have made an order of monks to protect the Hindu religion.
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"We are going to send copies of this list to the Centre, the state governments as well as all the opposition parties with the demand that a strong legislation be brought to check the activities of these self-styled cult leaders," Giri added.
The ABAP president also said that the apex body will release another list after Diwali and that list is likely to include another 28 names, reported Hindustan Times.
Speaking of the list and the menace that these fake godmen have been creating, Giri also revealed that on Saturday he received a call from a person claiming to be an Asaram follower. The caller is said to have threatened to kill him if the list included Asaram's name. An FIR was filed and the case is being investigated.
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"An FIR has been lodged at the Daraganj police station in the city, based on a complaint of Giri. The matter is being investigated," Senior Superintendent of Police of Allahabad Anand Kulkarni told PTI.
Here are the 14 self-styled godmen, who have made it to the list:
- Asaram Bapu (Asumal Sirumalani)
- Sukhbinder Kaur (Radhe Maa)
- Sachchidanand Giri (Sachin Datta)
- Gurmeet Singh of Dera Sacha Sauda
- Om Baba (Vivekanand Jha)
- Nirmal Baba (Nirmaljeet Singh)
- Ichchadhari Bhimanand (Shivmurti Dwivedi)
- Swami Asimanand
- Om Namah Shivay Baba
- Narayan Sai
- Acharya Kushmuni
- Brahaspati Giri
- Malkhan Singh
The list comes after Dera chief Ram Rahim was sentenced to 20 years in prison for raping two sadhvis. Post the verdict, the state of Haryana and parts of Delhi saw massive violence, which also killed over 40 people.
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While Ram Rahim is cooling his heels in the prison, the Haryana Police have issued a lookout notice for Ram Rahim's adopted daughter Honeypreet Singh who is a close aide of the convict. Though it was earlier believed that Honeypreet was absconding to avoid arrest and interrogation, it is now also being said that she may be facing a threat to her life.
Intel reports have said that there could be a threat to Honeypreet's life and the Haryana government has been informed about this threat.
"We are searching for Honeypreet Kaur and also examining the IB reports," India Today quoted Haryana Police chief B S Sandhu as saying. He refused to speak about the investigation and the findings and explained that it was confidential.
Surprisingly, the threat is not from an outsider but the Dera itself, considering Honeypreet is privy to a lot of details about the Dera and its activities. Hence, the Dera and its chief may want to eliminate Honeypreet so that the Dera details remain safe. Considering Honeypreet is said to have had an illicit relationship with the Dera chief, her arrest could open a can of worms.