Kidnapping for a few god men
He wanted his own ‘spiritual Walmart’ and had a business plan in place — train children to be preachers, devotees and cash will follow.
The plan, however, ran into trouble after a 13-year-old boy was kidnapped from Ayodhya on March 1. Thursday night police arrested 50-year-old Prem Dass from his ashram in Fatehpuri Beri in south Delhi and rescued five children.
“Dass was very ambitious and wanted to get rich by setting up his own ashrams, but didn’t have the money,” said HGS Dhaliwal, Deputy Commissioner of Police (South). He believed children would pull crowds and flush him with cash, said the officer. The children were dressed in saffron and wearing vermilion when the police came to their rescue.
One of the boys, 13-year-old Deepak who was abducted from Ayodhya, managed to lay hands on Dass’s cellphone and alerted his father. “Deepak informed his father of his whereabouts. We then tracked the cellphone number and rescued him with other children,” said Dhaliwal.
Dass, a resident of Bhagalpur in Bihar, was greatly influenced by the success of spiritual leaders who had children preaching at their ashrams. He felt the leaders were popular and had huge donations pouring in.
Dass came to Delhi in 1985 and worked as a priest at a temple in Jaunapur in south Delhi. Three years later, he even managed to set up a small ashram.