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As Prakash Jha’s Aashram comes under attack, here’s a look at controversial ‘babas’ of India

Prakash Jha’s rendition of a self-styled godman in India, performed by Bobby Deol within the internet collection, ‘Aashram’, on Saturday got here underneath assault by Bajrang Dal activists, who claimed that the present’s identify was an “assault” on Hinduism. Echoing the thought, the House Minister of Madhya Pradesh — the place the taking pictures was going down for the third season of the present — Narottam Mishra, too acknowledged, “Why do you shoot scenes that damage our sentiments? If in case you have the center, why don’t you shoot scenes which can be objectionable to [the followers of] different religions?”

Although the makers preserve that the work is solely fictional, Deol’s “Kashipur waale” Baba Nirala bears fairly a resemblance to Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, the Dera Sacha Sauda chief, who was lately convicted of a second homicide (of his worker Ranjit Singh and beforehand, of journalist Ram Chander Chhatrapati), and is presently serving jail sentence for raping two of his ladies disciples.

Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. (The Press Reporter Picture by Jaipal Singh)

Nevertheless, ‘Pitaji’, a time period utilized by Ram Rahim’s followers, isn’t the one controversial godman of India entangled with the regulation. Right here’s a take a look at a number of others:

Asaram Bapu

Asaram was discovered responsible of raping a 16-year-old woman, who was learning at his ashram in Chhindwara in 2013. A Jodhpur courtroom, on April 25, 2018, had sentenced Asaram to life in jail. After the woman made a grievance, a Surat lady and her elder sister, who have been raped by Asaram and his son, Narayan Sai, respectively, additionally got here ahead. A Surat classes courtroom order in April 2019 had sentenced Sai to life imprisonment as properly.

In August this yr, seven individuals have been sentenced to 1 yr of imprisonment after the a Gandhinagar magisterial courtroom discovered them responsible for rioting and inflicting harm. In July 2008, followers of Asaram had attacked a gaggle of journalists with sticks, who have been outdoors his ashram in Motera, protecting a bandh known as in protest in opposition to the dying of two minor boys who have been college students on the ashram’s gurukul.

Asaram Bapu involves depose earlier than DK Trivedi Fee that’s probing the dying of two boys who have been discovered useless on the Asaram’s ashram in 2008. (The Press Reporter File Picture by Ashwin Sadhu)

Swami Nithyananda

Nithyananda has grabbed headlines through the years, some weird, and others over a collection of costs levied in opposition to him by his followers. The godman escaped the nation after being accused in a rape trial. In November 2019, an FIR had been lodged in opposition to Nithyananda and two of his followers at an Ahmedabad-based ashram for allegedly abducting, confining and torturing two minors and a 19-year-old lady.

Nevertheless, this isn’t the one controversy surrounding the ‘swami.’ In 2010, a video of Nithyananda had surfaced on native news channels whereby he was purportedly proven participating in sexual acts with a Tamil actress. He had defended himself on the time saying he was merely ‘practising the shavasana’ and that he was impotent.

A case was filed in opposition to him in Bangalore. He was lastly arrested from Himachal Pradesh’s Solan district on April 21, 2010. Nithyananda was, nevertheless, let off on bail. Two years later, although, he landed once more in soup when a US-based lady claimed that Nithyananda had abused her for 5 years.

Over a yr after fleeing India in 2019 to flee arrest in a rape trial, Nithyananda unveiled a new central financial institution and freshly-minted forex of Kailasa — the ‘Hindu sovereign nation’ he claims to have based.

Then CM Narendra Modi launched the books of Bangalore based mostly non secular chief Nithyananda at Navlakkhi floor in Vadodara. (The Press Reporter Archive Picture By Bhupendra Rana)

Sant Rampal

A Haryana courtroom in 2018 convicted self-styled godman Rampal and 27 of his followers in two homicide circumstances. He was awarded life sentences in each the circumstances, which are actually working concurrently.

The 2 homicide circumstances pertain to dying of 5 ladies and one youngster who died due to suffocation and sickness throughout two-week lengthy standoff and clashes between Rampal supporters and police in November 2014. That yr, the Punjab and Haryana Excessive Court docket had ordered the police to arrest Rampal after he failed to seem earlier than the courtroom in reference to a 2006 homicide conspiracy case. Nevertheless, when police went to arrest him, Rampal and his aides barricaded themselves and holed themselves up inside his Satlok Ashram.

Sant Rampal

Swami Sachidanand

4 devotees had accused Swami Sachidanand and three of his aides of gangrape in December 2017. Whereas Basti police in August 2018 arrested two of the godman’s followers, together with a girl, the Swami was mentioned to absconding from the regulation.

The Petlad-based Swami was additionally dealing with costs in reference to the homicide of 1 Babu Mohaniya on the former’s ashram close to Petlad on July 17, 2006.

Sachidanand, also called “Builder Baba” and “Disco Baba” was stripped off his title as “mahamandaleshwar” by the All India Akhara Parishad for being concerned in “liquor enterprise”. There are additionally studies of costs of land seize and unlawful liquor commerce in opposition to Dutta in Punjab and Haryana — however there are few particulars concerning the circumstances.

Sachin Dutta who turned Mahamandaleshwar. (The Press Reporter File Picture by Gajendra Yadav)

Sant Swami Bhimanand

Shiv Murat Dwivedi alias Ichchadhari Sant Swami Bhimanand Ji Maharaj Chitrakoot Wale allegedly amassed wealth to the tune of crores by allegedly working a intercourse racket. He’s additionally accused of working an internet site for flesh commerce.

On February 25, 2010, he was held with two air hostesses on account of working prostitution ring for nearly a decade in Delhi. On March 9 of the identical yr, MCOCA costs for flesh commerce have been slapped on him.

Swami Shraddananda

Shraddananda, who had buried his spouse Shakereh alive of their Bangalore home to usurp her huge property, was awarded a life sentence by the Supreme Court docket in 2008.

In accordance with studies, the godman, serving his sentence within the Sagar district of Madhya Pradesh, had sought to spend the remainder of life outdoors of jail in August this yr.

Radhe Maa

The self-styled godwoman Radhe Maa, whose actual identify is Sukhvinder Kaur, was accused in 2015, by one Niki Gupta, of inciting her parents-in-law to harass her for dowry. Whereas a chargesheet was filed in opposition to her, the police later dropped her identify from the listing of accused.

In 2016, an FIR was lodged in opposition to her underneath the Arms Act for carrying a ‘trishul’ (trident) on a flight from Aurangabad to Mumbai final yr. In the identical yr, a case was lodged in opposition to her for impersonating Goddess Durga and dishonest devotees by taking cash from them.

In 2015, TV actress Dolly Bindra accused Radhe Maa of intimidation, sexual harassment and voyeurism and an FIR was filed. Bindra, who was a follower of the godwoman, mentioned her prayer conferences have been “obscene” and Radhe Maa would “power” her to “get shut” to her male devotees.

The Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad has positioned Radhe Maa on its listing of 14 ‘faux babas’


Also called Trichy Sai Baba, Premananda was awarded life imprisonment in 1994 for 2 phrases on the fees of a number of felony offences together with rape and homicide. Premananda was charged with the rape of inmates of his ashram at Trichy in addition to for finishing up crude medical terminations of a few of the consequent pregnancies with the assistance of a few associates. He was additionally charged with the homicide of an engineer who had opposed the nefarious actions on the ashram. He handed away in 2011.

Asif Noori

A self-proclaimed godman from Maharashtra’s Parbhani district was arrested in 2018 for allegedly making his male followers interact in unnatural sexual acts with one another by claiming to own divine powers. Police obtained a whiff of the state of affairs after a grievance was lodged by a number of locals who claimed that video clips of the godman, Asif Noori, forcing followers into unnatural intercourse have been being circulated on social media.

Noori used to focus on younger married males from Nanded and Parbhani districts of Marathwada and claimed to resolve their private issues.

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