The first time I heard of Dera Sacha Sauda was in 2008 when Mysuru Assistant Commissioner issued notice to the sect for violating the Karnataka Land Revenue Act. The sect had bought agricultural land in Kalasthawadi village near Siddalingapura on Bengaluru-Mysuru highway and built huge structures without alienating the land.
Interestingly, back then the Dera Chief, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, was in Mysuru hiding as his followers and some members of the Sikh community clashed in which a Sikh man was killed. This led to further protests from Sikhs in Mumbai and Punjab; so Gurmeet was packed off to Mysuru.
Then a few years ago I was at Tamara resort in Coorg for lunch where I saw a hairy man surrounded by well-dressed women. I asked who the lucky man was and they said it was some “Punjabi Baba.” I was left wondering how such Godmen have so many followers and so much money to live this lavish lifestyle.
The next time I saw him was on TV. And he was screaming… actually it turned out that he was singing, and he was singing:
Say Every Body
Our Satguru The Love Charger
True Love Charger
I am so lucky because You are my Love Charger…
Guess he discharged too much love that the Court thought his charger was too dangerous for civil society. One wonders how does this happen? How do people get so impressed by such Babas?
We have a Baba epidemic in this country. These Babas are not only getting bolder, they are not only getting more audacious, they are not only becoming more defiant of the law but are now even building their own army of fanatics and armed devotees! Something a government has to fear.
Remember two years ago when one Baba Rampal defied the law and after a two-day standoff, it all ended with six devotees and a baby dead. And yesterday 30 people died.
Godmen think they are above the law, and why not? When law-makers themselves prostrate before these Babas, they can be above the law. No wonder, decades ago when six boys were shot dead in Sai Baba’s residential area in Puttaparthi, a Trustee of the Ashram said, “The matter is purely internal and we do not wish to have any law enforcement agency investigating into it!” Six people died and this man had the audacity and arrogance to say that law enforcement should not investigate!? So, yes Godmen can be above the law when politicians are at their feet.
And it is the government’s fault. The CBI probe about Gurmeet’s rape began way back in 2002. Along with this Police filed murder charges against him in the death of two people — journalist Ram Chander Chhatrapati, who was writing investigative articles about Dera Sacha Sauda and Ranjith Singh, the then Dera Sacha Sauda manager who supposedly gave inside information. Now the law gave Gurmeet 15 years to build his empire, build his contacts, build his fanatic army. And today 30 people are dead and crores worth of private property has been damaged.
Now the court says sell the Dera properties and pay for the damage…but what about the law’s responsibility? Didn’t the lethargy in CBI’s investigation delay justice which caused this tragedy? Didn’t the inefficiency of the Police who stood like by-standers cause thugs to be emboldened? How will they be held accountable?
The government must stop pleasing Godmen because one day they will grow bigger than the law. Can anyone touch Baba Ramdev today? We remember when Ramdev flew into Delhi to join the Ramlila protest, four UPA Ministers, including our former President Pranab Mukherjee met Ramdev requesting him to go back. That’s how much they feared his participation. (Of course, they over- estimated his resilience, conviction and courage because he later escaped dressed like a woman and then could not even fast for four days. It was proof that he was more about bravado than true courage and conviction).
But now the ED’s case against Ramdev’s aide Balkrishna related to transactions from foreign Trusts has been closed. The CBI that had questioned Baba Ramdev about the disappearance of his Guru Shankar Dev is closed but the case is not solved ! In May 2016, Uttarakhand Police arrested Ramdev’s brother Ram Bharat for allegedly instigating attack on protesting truck drivers. A truck driver died in the clash. Ram Bharat is out on bail pending further investigation. Can the law really take on this case?
Every one says we are now in ‘Suvarna Yuga’ as India marks its presence in the world but we are actually in the ‘Giri Yuga’ — everyone is either indulging in Dadagiri, Chamchagiri or Babagiri. Surprisingly, the third ‘Giri’ continues in spite of the fact that, for decades every major Baba or Guru has done nothing but fool us. So much so that words ‘Baba’, ‘Guru’ and ‘Swami’, titles of reverence which are supposed to conjure up images of sagely wisdom, decency and selflessness, now evokes images of corruption, money, politics, sex, beards and robes. And sadly Baba Ashrams are becoming kingdoms within India…may be a day will come when we’ll have to ask them to sign the accession treaty and force them to join the mainstream democracy like it happened post-Independence with Maharajas.
For now, law has to remind these Babas that they may be special and Godly to their devotees but not to the IPC, CrPC and ultimately, our Democracy.
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