Hyderabad: Fake faith healers are on the prowl again despite the frequent police crackdown on them. In the last one month, three persons lodged complaints against phony ‘babas’, forcing police to register cases and arrest them.
Of the three arrested, one was charged with raping a teenager while another aged around 70 years was accused of luring a 19- year-woman and marrying her. In all the three cases, the victims were women indicating that they were becoming an easy target for fake faith healers.
Social activist Ayesha Nasreen points out that a chunk of the clients of these ‘babas’ is women who throng the so-called ‘faith-healing’ dens to get their issues resolved. These mostly relate to matrimonial disputes, infertility, not finding suitable marriage alliances and health.
“Afraid of being exposed, most victims do not come forward to lodge a complaint with the police when they are cheated. And this only encourages the fraudsters to exploit other women,” she says.
A few fake ‘babas’ from other States too have put up camp in the city and operate from hotels or apartments and woo the public by placing advertisements in newspapers and local TV channels.
“It is a professional network that involves a wide network of brokers. Unless religious heads involve themselves in the issue, it will not end,” says Mohammed Turab, a social activist.
Police have registered several cases against fake ‘babas’ in the past as well and booked them under Section 420 (cheating) of the IPC apart from relevant sections of the Prevention of Drugs and Remedies Act. But as the earnings are huge, the faith healers return to business once they are out on bail.
With three cases reported in one month, the police have now begun collecting details of all those faith healers who were earlier arrested for cheating, sexually assaulting or threatening people.
“A database will be prepared of these people for continuously keeping a tab on their activities. If need be, we will open suspect sheets against these fraudsters and will impose the PD Act on them,” said DCP (South) V Satyanarayana.