Irked by recent controversies surrounding self-styled godmen, the Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad, the apex body of Hindu sadhus, today released a list of 14 "fake babas" and demanded a crackdown on "rootless cult leaders" by bringing in a legislation.
Giving out the list, which includes names like Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, Rampal, Asaram and his son Narayan Sai, the parishad's president Swami Narendra Giri said, "We appeal to even the common people to beware of such charlatans who belong to no tradition and by their questionable acts, bring disrepute to sadhus and sanyasis."
The parishad is a council of akharas, which are monastic orders drawing their spiritual lineage from 8th-century seer Adi Shankara, who is said to have established orders of martial monks with the aim of defending the Hindu Dharma.
The development comes close on the heels of a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in Haryana sentencing Dera Sacha Sauda chief Ram Rahim to 20 years in prison for the rape of two of his former disciples.
Large-scale violence took place in various parts of Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan following his conviction by the court in the two cases.
Forty-one people were killed in Haryana in the clashes. However, no death was reported from Punjab and Rajasthan. While Asaram is in jail in connection with a sexual assault case, his son Narayan Sai, also booked in a similar case, is out on bail.
Rampal is behind bars, facing trial in a number of cases relating to violence.
"We are going to send copies of this list to the Centre, the state governments as well as all the opposition parties with the demand that a strong legislation be brought to check the activities of these self-styled cult leaders," Giri told reporters here.
He also claimed that he had yesterday received a phone call from a person claiming to be a devotee of Asaram, who "threatened to kill me if a mention was made of his guru in the list of fake babas we planned to bring out today".
(With PTI inputs)