“These ashrams which have become centres of terror in the name of faith should be deeply investigated.” These are the words of the BJP mouthpiece ‘Kamal Sandesh’ which in an unprecedented turn of events, in its December ’14 issue’ has lambasted the so-called saints or babas who commit crimes, sins and exploitation in the name of religion.
The editorial, written in the aftermath of arrest of Baba Rampal, says ‘the kind of exploitation that was being done in the name of superstition only shows that we are still living in dark ages. These ashrams which have become centres of terror in the name of faith should be deeply investigated. The manner in which baba Rampal tried to take advantage of the human weakness was really a huge sin.” Aptly titled ‘No one is above law’, the editorial raises a pertinent question: ‘Who should be called a saint or a baba?’ BJP MP Prabhat Jha is the editor of Kamal Sandesh.
The editorial further says: ‘People like Rampal are not born in a day. They spread their network of superstition gradually in the society. In the name of miracle the ignorant and poor people who are burdened economically become prey of their abuse.’ It calls for a need to put a ban on these types of ashrams at the very beginning itself and blames the erstwhile Congress government under Hooda for allowing such babas to become big and strong.
“It is an irony that Congress government led by Hooda was in power for last ten years in Haryana. The so called Baba Rampal spread his wings in the last ten years itself. Why no attention was paid to him? What was the reason that Hooda government was giving shelter to these types of babas. It is known to everyone that Rampal did not create such an empire in one day.” The sprawling 5-storeyed farm in acres that Baba Rampal called his ashram had bullet-proof encloses, personal swimming pools, and lot more.
The editorial further says: “Was the story of becoming baba from an engineer not in the knowledge of the then Congress government? If it had come in the knowledge of the government then how he was allowed to spread? Ashram got converted into house of weaponry and the government remained a mute spectator.”
The editorial praises the newly formed Manoharlal Khattar led BJP Government for tactfully handling the situation. It says: “The kind of lawlessness that was spread in the name of this ashram running in the name of baba is nothing less than sedition. The administration and the government were openly challenged. Had the BJP government in Haryana, and the chief minister Shri Manoharlal Khattar not acted with patience, the situation that was created both inside and outside the ashram could have led to many deaths.”
However, what the editorial silently ignores is that the High Court had, on November 10, pulled up the Haryana Government for failing to produce self-styled ‘godman’ to the court. The government’s delay and lackadaisical approach in taking a stand led to a congregation of such a large number of followers gather at the Ashram. The Government was ordered to produce Rampal in court long back but didn’t act until reminders by the Court.
Moreover, in a similar incident of sort, the Government seemed to have bowed down before the Dera Sacha Sauda chief Ram Rahim Singh after he (his dera) publically announced their support to the BJP.
Sources say, BJP MLAs were “paraded” before the controversial god-man after the assembly election results were announced in Haryana. On November 12 BJP leaders including Haryana Assembly speaker Kanwarpal Gujjar, minister of state Krishan Kumar Bedi, president of the Haryana BJP, Ganeshi Lal, Haryana and Assembly election in-charge Kailash Vijayvargiya besides another 17 MLAs (total 19 MLAs) bowed down before the dera chief and sought his “blessings”. It is the first time that members of a political party, that too elected representatives including the speaker of the Vidhan Sabha and a minister met the Dera chief. The meeting was more a “thanksgiving” than a mere a “blessing seeking visit”.