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Designating 14 'Babas' As Fake, Hindu Board Announces 'Sant' Title Must Be Earned

News World India | 3
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| September 10 , 2017 , 15:21 IST

In the wake of self-styled godmen (and women) misusing the title of 'sant' that they award themselves, the Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad has decided to put in place a mechanism by which a person can only use the title of Sant if they have successfully passed a background check.

The Parishad also released a list of 14 self-styled godmen/women who are fake, according to the board.

The names include, Asaram Bapu, Sukhwinder Kaur aka Radhe Maa, Narayan Sai, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, Swami Aseemanand, Om Namah Shivay Baba, Sachchidanad Giri aka Sachin Datta, Ombaba aka Vivekanand Jha, Nirmal Baba alias Nirmaljit Singh, Yashadhari Bhimanand aka Shivamurthy Dwivedi, Rampal, Acharya Kushmuni and Malkhan Singh.

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The recent debacle of godman Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh's conviction and sentencing in two rape cases brought to light the decadent lifestyle led by a supposed 'sant' and prompted the body of Hindu religious leaders to ensure that not just anyone can use the title of 'sant'.

The incident involving Ram Rahim, raised strong feelings among saints that due to misdeeds of one or two persons the entire community was being shown in a bad light, said Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) Joint General Secretary Surendra Jain.

"The Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad feels that the title of 'sant' is being misused so it has decided to put in place a mechanism to award this title," Jain said.

The title will be given to the concerned person only after thorough evaluation and examination.

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"The Akhara Parishad will also observe lifestyle of individuals before conferring this title on them," Jain added.

A senior functionary of the Akhara Parishad said that in order to be classified as a 'saint' an individual should not have cash or any assets in his own name.

"All such things -- assets and cash -- should belong to a trust and should be utilised for the welfare of the people at large," the functionary said.

The Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad is the united body of 14 akharas.