Reacting to the recent conviction of Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh on rape charges, the Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad (ABAP), the apex governing body of 13 major akharas (organisations of Hindu sants) in the country, has decided to seek government action against ‘fake’ gurus and self-styled ‘godmen’ who dupe the gullible.
“Ram Rahim Singh is not a real mahatma or mahant. There are too many fake mahatmas and babas roaming about fooling the people. They don’t belong to any akhara or tradition,” said Mahant Narendra Giri, head of the ABAP. “They have brought a bad name to the seer community,” he added.
The ABAP will pass a resolution on the matter on September 10 in Allahabad. It will then hand over a memorandum to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, seeking action against a list of ‘fake babas’. It is also likely to pressure the government to not allocate land to unrecognised, self-styled babas at the next Ardh Kumbh Mela (held every six years) in Allahabad.
To keep ‘fake babas’ from occupying spiritual posts in the akharas, the ABAP plans to make the process of selecting the mahamandaleshwars (spiritual heads) of akharas tougher. Mahamandaleshwars will be selected after a proper interview and a background check of their financial history and criminal antecedents, if any.
The ABAP will also demand a probe into the property and belongings of all the babas not affiliated to any akhara or tradition. Mr Giri said he had no problem with the sadhus anointed by the akharas or bodies affiliated to them.
“Our only issue is with the self-styled babas. They spread filth, and later we find that they have rape cases against them. They defame us. You will never find the ones from the akharas doing such things,” he said.