LUCKNOW: The Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad, the apex regulatory body of 13 'Akharas', has identified 14 self-proclaimed godmen from across the country and declared them fake since all of them courted controversy at some point in their lives as preachers. The Akhara Parishad announced their names at its special session held in Allahabad Sunday.
The names announced by the parishad include Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Insaan, Ashumal Sharmalani alias Asaram Bapu, Sukhvinder Kaur alias Radhe Maa, Nirmaljeet Singh alias Nirmal Baba, Rampal, Sachin Dutta alias Sachchidanand Giri, Vivekanand Jha alias Om Baba, Shivmutri Dwivedi alias Ichchhadhari Bheemanand, Swami Aseemanand,
Om Namah Shivaiy Baba, Narain Sai, Acharya Kushmuni, Brihaspati Giri and Malkhan Giri.
The parishad also refused to accept any 'katha vachak' (narrator of text, stories in the form of religious discourse) as saint or seer. In a first of its kind meet held in Sangam City in the aftermath of the conviction of Gurmeet Ram Rahim in a rape case, the parishad heads regretted that self-acclaimed saints were tarnishing the image of the community and the society.
It also declared that accused in Mecca Masjid blast case, Swami Aseemanand, was a fake saint. It claimed that as per the Hindu way of life, only followers of the age-old tradition of Sanyasi, Nath, Vaishnav, Shaiv, Udasin, Nirmal and Gurunanak sects were saints. Apart from them, no self-proclaimed godmen or godwomen should be considered saints as they were neither part of any akharas nor are appointed.
The proposal to this effect was put forth by parishad secretary Hari Giri and was passed unanimously by representatives of all 13 Akharas. "The list is being sent to all four Shankaracharyas in the country, religious heads and state governments ahead of Ardh Kumbh, requesting them to ban the entry of self-proclaimed religious heads into big events," said Hari Giri.
Ram Rahim and Asaram are in jail facing rape charges. Builder Baba alias Sachin Dutta alias Sachidanand Giri is a proclaimed offender in a case registered with the Economic Offence Wing of the Delhi Police. Self-proclaimed godman Rampal is in jail too. Mumbai-based Radhe Maa and Nirmal Baba are facing a police probe. Asaram's son Narayan Sai is facing rape charges and is under judicial custody.