Allahabad: In the backdrop of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh's conviction in a rape case, religious leaders in Allahabad on Saturday called for a crackdown on "money-launderers masquerading as godmen".
"Incidents like these send across a very strong message about India and its spiritual heritage. We have long demanded that the government investigate and act against godmen whose empires may have undergone a meteoric rise," President of the Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad, Swami Narendra Giri told reporters in Allahabad.
The Parishad is the apex body of 'Akharas' - monastic orders comprising Naga ascetics which were set up by the Adi Sankara in the eighth century.
Giri said, "Many money launderers are masquerading as godmen. They belong to no religious tradition, mutt, or akhara. People with big money become followers of these so-called cult leaders with the intention to get their black wealth converted into white".
"The Parishad will be holding its next meeting on 10 September. On the agenda will be a resolution against such fake godmen and preparation of a list of such charlatans which will be later sent to the government", he added.
Giri criticised the Manohar Lal Khattar government in Haryana for its failure to keep law and order under control after the verdict against the Dera Sacha Sauda chief which was followed by large-scale violence and arson by followers of the cult.
He also condemned the statement issued by religious leader turned politician Sakshi Maharaj in favour of the convicted godman and asked the BJP MP from Unnao to apologise for the same.
In a separate interaction with newsmen, Devi Prasad, chief priest of the renowned Sharda Devi Temple at Maihar in the neigbouring state of Madhya Pradesh, hailed the court verdict against the Dera chief.
"No crisis has befallen upon the devotees of Ram and Rahim. It is people indulging in misdeeds while pretending to be holy who are finding themselves in trouble. Those who hoodwink gullible people in the name of religion and faith must be ready to face similar consequences," he said.
Updated Date: Aug 26, 2017 20:57 PM