New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has sought a ban on ashrams run by 'godmen' like Rampal, saying they have become centres of "terror" in the name of faith.
An editorial in the latest issue of party mouthpiece Kamal Sandesh said, "These ashrams which have become centres of terror in the name of faith should be deeply investigated."
"People like Rampal are not born in a day. They spread their network of superstition gradually in the society... There should be a ban on these types of ashrams at the very beginning itself," it said.
Questioning as to who should be called a saint or a baba, the journal, edited by BJP vice-president and Rajya Sabha MP Prabhat Jha, said the kind of exploitation done in the name of superstitions only shows that ‘we are still living in dark ages'.
Though it did not name any 'godman' except Rampal, who was arrested last month after over a two week-long standoff between his supporters and police, but its strong criticism of such ashrams assumes significance because of their wide presence in several states and alleged proximity of some of these 'godmen' with the saffron party.
One ashram, Dera Sacha Sauda which is based in Sirsa and commands large following, had announced its support to BJP for the state assembly elections. The dera's head is facing several criminal cases.
Police had arrested Rampal after he refused to comply with court's summons, prompting Punjab and Haryana High Court to issue non-bailable warrants against him.
Praising the action of BJP government in Haryana, the editorial said it had sent a message that no one is above law.