India has seen a number of cases of self-styled godmen sexually assaulting people under the pretext of 'showing the way'. They have been known to mislead people into thinking their miseries will end if they follow the orders given to them and in a lot of instances that hasn't ended well.
For example, in a heart-wrenching case that emerged from Amritsar yesterday, 2 women were held captive and raped by a couple of men at Ram Tirath Temple. And when they went to complain about this to the head priests, they also sexually assaulted them. For now, the latter two have been arrested while the police searches for the other accused.
Why. Why aren’t women safe anywhere. https://t.co/zxH9ef7JNf— Chinmayi Sripaada (@Chinmayi) May 20, 2020
Sadly, there are many such tainted Indian 'gurus' who have or are facing charges of sexual assault against them. Here is a brief list of men of religion who used their piety to sexually abuse women, in recent times.
1. Girdhari Nath and Varinder Nath
The two priests from Ram Tirath Temple in Amritsar were accused of holding 2 women captive and raping them. They were aided in the crime by two other men who fled from the scene and are currently being looked for by the police.
2. Asaram Bapu
The self-styled godman with around 400 ashrams across the country and millions of followers, was convicted by a Jodhpur court in a case that dated back to 2013. He was handed life imprisonment till death.
3. Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh
The founder of Dera Sacha Sauda, Gurmeet Ram Rahim was given a punishment of 20 years in jail after the allegations of him raping 2 women were proven correct in 2017. He also faces charges for forced castrations and murder.
4. Virender Dev Dixit
Former follower of Brahma Kumari and the founder of Adhyatmik Ishwariya Vishwa Vidyalaya was absconding for a year when CBI placed the charges against him (in 2018). The bureau also announced a bounty of ₹5 lakhs for anyone who could give them leads regarding his whereabouts .
Nithyananda was accused of sexual assault by an ex-aide. It also claimed that he used to abuse children as young as 10 years of age. Nithyananda now lives in a 'new country' named Kailaasa, which has its own passport and a flag.
6. Ichchadhari Sant Swami Bhimanand Ji Maharaj Chitrakootwale
Ichchadhari Sant Maharaj allegedly organised a sex racket in Delhi and the case blew up 2010.
7. Swami Vikasanand
The 'swami' was arrested in 2006 in connection with making obscene movies. He had some 60 CDs with vulgar footage. He was convicted by a fast track court in Jabalpur in 2010.
8. Falahari Baba
Falahari Maharaj was accused of raping a 21-year-old woman, who was the daughter of one of his devotees. Following which he was given life imprisonment by Additional District court of Alwar in 2018.
9. Baba Parmanand
In 2016, Shankar Tiwari alias Parmanand Maharaj was accused of sexually exploiting women who couldn't bear a child and then blackmailing them with videos. He was also accused of attempt to murder and fraud.
10. Swami Premananda
Based out of Tiruchirapally, Tamil Nadu, Swami Premananda was accused of raping 13 women while molesting 2 others. He was sentenced to life in 2005 but ended up passing away in 2011 due to prolonged illness.
11. Swami Amrita Chaitnya
Swami Amrita Chaitnya was arrested in 2008 on account of raping 4 minor girls. He was also accused of cheating an NRI woman.
12. Father Robin Vadkumcherry
Robin Vadkumcherry was given a punishment of 20 years in jail in connection with sexually assaulting a girl for more than 4 years. He was also handed a fine of ₹3 lakh.