New Delhi: The Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad (ABAP), an apex body of Hindu sadhus, on Sunday released a list of 14 ‘fake babas‘, in response to recent controversies surrounding self-styled godmen.
The ABAP, an umbrella organisation of 13 akharas, has also demanded a law to ensure a crackdown on “rootless cult leaders”. The list includes names like Asaram Bapu, Sant Rampal and Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, who was recently convicted for raping two female followers.
ABAP president Swami Narendra Giri, told PTI: “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 14 blacklisted spiritual leaders are Ram Rahim, Asaram and son Narayan Sai, Radhe Maa aka Sukhwinder Kaur, Nirmal Baba aka Nirmaljeet Singh, Khushi Maharaj, Sachidanand Giri aka Sachin Datta, Om Baba aka Vivekanand Jha, Ichchhadhari Bhimanand aka Ram Murat Dwivedi, Rampal, Swami Aseemanand, Om Namo Shivay Baba, Brihaspati Giri and Malkan Giri.
However, the ABAP has in the past supported some of these godmen. When asked why he and other akhara heads had earlier feted such “charlatans” and welcomed them into their monasteries, Giri told the Telegraph: “It happened because some people misled us. We’ll be careful in future.”
He appealed to “common people to beware of such charlatans” and said copies of the list would be sent to the Centre, state governments and opposition parties with the demand for a law to check these people’s activities, according to The Telegraph. “We’ll expose these fake sadhus and write to the government to investigate their activities and arrest them,” said Giri, who has held two meetings with Uttar Pradesh chief minister Adityanath in the past five months “for sadhus’ welfare”.
The list was made public after a brief meeting of representatives of various akharas at Math Baghambari Gaddi in Allahabad’s Allahpur. According to PTI, Giri told reporters: “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.”
The report stated that another list of 28 fake godmen will be released by the ABAP after Diwali.
“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,” Giri said while announcing the list.
A day before the release of the list, Giri had lodged an FIR claiming that he had received death threats from callers, who he said warned him of dire consequences if the group passed any resolution against Asaram.
(With inputs from PTI)