New Delhi: The Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad (ABAP), the apex regulatory body for India’s 13 ‘akharas’ (groups of ascetics), declared 14 controversial godmen and women fake at a meeting on Sunday.
Those named include Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Singh, recently convicted of rape, Asaram Bapu, who also faces allegations of rape, and Sukhvinder Kaur alias Radhe Maa, Nirmal Baba and Rampal.
Almost all the 14 are under investigation for different crimes. The Parishad has also refused to accept any ‘Katha vachak’ (narrator of religious text, stories) as a ‘saint’.
In the first-of-its-kind meet, the Parishad heads expressed regret that people are known as “saints” were tarnishing the image of the community and society. Former RSS member Aseemanand, an accused in the 2007 Mecca Masjid blast, was declared a “fake saint” as well.
The names announced by the parishad include Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Singh, 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,