A bizarre spiritual guru who is under investigation by India’s Central Bureau of Investigation, or CBI, is said to have convinced 400 of his followers to undergo castrations because, he said, the surgery would bring the followers closer to God.
A recent story from the Daily Mail reports the CBI is investigating Gurmeet Ram Rahim for criminal intimidation and causing grievous bodily harm after the 400 castrations were carried out over an undetermined period of time, believed to have begun around 2000.
Rahim is the head of the Dera Sacha Sauda organization, a humanitarian, social welfare and spiritual organization with millions of followers throughout India.
He is reportedly known in India as the “guru in bling” for his tendency to appear in public wearing gaudy clothes and jewelry. News of the allegations come just before the release of the spiritual leader’s new movie titled “MSG: Messenger of God” in which he is featured fighting crime, singing songs and dousing himself with water in a slow motion clip after an on-screen rugby game.
The recent case hinges on a complaint by one of the organization’s followers, Hansraj Chauhan, who said the guru convinced him to undergo the painful operation at his ashram nearly 15 years ago.
Chauhan said in his complaint that he lived on the dera premises from 1996 until 2009, and explained which individuals were singled out and convinced to undergo the surgery.
“Those dera sadhus were castrated who had access to the hostel of sadhvis (female devotees) or female members of the dera head’s family,” he is quoted as saying in the Hindustan Times.
“My operation took place at Gursar Modiya village of Ganganagar district … in 2000. It was three days later that I realized its effect on my body,” he continued.
A court-ordered medical examination confirmed Chauhan had been surgically castrated.
Rahim disputes the allegations and said he is considering legal action against those who have accused him of ordering the surgeries.
“Such allegations disturb me, when I am doing good for humanity. Therefore me and my legal advisor are going to move the court challenging the allegations,” he is quoted as saying in the Times of India.
Rahim is no stranger to controversy. A February 2014 article from the Daily Mail reported he was facing murder conspiracy charges in connection with the death of a journalist in 2002.
That trial is still pending according to the more recent Daily Mail article. So too is a case concerning allegations that Rahim sexually exploited a number of his female followers, the Daily Mail reports.