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Kerala: Godmen's Own Country!

By Rediff News Bureau& Agencies
Last updated on: May 21, 2008 02:07 IST
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Is God's Own Country turning into Godmen's Own Country? If the recent events involving fraud godmen are any indication, it is time Kerala's most famous catchline was rewritten. Day after day, several scandals linked to self-styled godmen are surfacing in the most-literate state in the country.

On Tuesday, the house of a pastor was searched by Income Tax (IT) officials in Kottayam.

IT officials searched the home of one pastor Thanku in Kottayam following reports that he had allegedly amassed wealth disproportionate to his known sources of income, police said.

Meanwhile, a rationalist group, Kerala Yukthivadi Sangham, on Tuesday held a roadshow by sprinkling boiling water on the body of one of its activists to expose the fraud linked to one local godman, who claimed extraordinary powers.

The recent arrest in Kochi of Santosh Madhavan, who is facing charges of raping minor girls, cheating and financial fraud took the lid off flourishing spiritual rackets.

Bogus Swamis and spiritual fraudsters also came under scanner after a gun-totting Himaval Bhadrananda created a scene in a police station by threatening to shoot himself and opened fire causing minor injuries on his left palm.

Bhadrananda was also arrested and remanded. Two police officials were suspended for not professionally handling the situation.

In yet another incident of fraud by alleged godmen, a person was on Tuesday arrested for making false claims that he could cure several ailments, including cancer.

A complaint was registered against self-styled godman Chandran Mama in Kozhikode by his former disciple Aneesh, who had taken his father to the "Swami" for cancer treatment, police said.

The godman offered to cure the disease with a special medicine and demanded Rs 30,000 for the treatment, but he settled for Rs 10,000 and asked Aneesh's father to consume the medicine for a permanent cure, police said.

However, the patient got no relief from the medicine and died, the complainant said, adding it was he found out that the medicine prescribed by "Swami" was nothing but a product of Amway, that costs only about Rs 1,000 in the market.

The police is on the look-out for Chandran Mama, who has a sizeable number of followers.

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Rediff News Bureau& Agencies