State Government should Ban Advertisements by Astrologers – Prof Narendra Nayak
Mangaluru: “During the time when astrologers have said that all should observe silence for the day and if one cannot do it at least between 10:30 am to 12:00 noon! This instruction had been issued to the world at large by P Srinivas Garge, court astrologer of Chandra Babu Naidu the CM of Andhra Pradesh and one who claims to be approved by the government of India!”, said the president of FIRA Narendra Nayak, in a press meet held, held at his office here on January 27.
Prof Narendra Nayak further said, “This is in continuation of our exposure of a so-called astrologer by name Ramakrishna Sharma aka Vidhya Shankar whose real name seems to be Lokesh, who was trapped by a sting operation on January 5, by Pramila and myself after giving him false information that she was my daughter abandoned by her husband because she was childless. The FIR no 07/2017 had been lodged at the Pandeshwar police station and he had been arrested and released on bail after a few days. We had publicised that and had also given a message that those who had been cheated by this person could come to us for help for filing complaints. I had also given my cell number to the nearby shops to communicate to me for filing complaints with the police”.
That had opened a can of worms and a number of people came forward with complaints and later on a few went to the police too. The most horrific one was that of a 24-year-old graduate woman who was unemployed had many problems in life. She went with the hope that these could be solved by him and ended up with the gratuitous advice that having sex with a Brahmin would be the ultimate solution to all her problems. Though she was upset by that and went away he called her again this time saying that his guru had come and he could solve her problems. She had stormed out of his den when this so called guruji had made lewd suggestions and tried to molest her. All she wanted was her money back and she had paid about 9,000 rupees to this man on various occasions because her problems were getting worse! He had promised various solutions given her talisman, threads, Prasad and a number of things which did not help at all! When he was not answering calls she had come to his den to recover her money, finding it locked had made inquiries and got my number. There was this woman running a petty shop from a village nearby. She had paid him Rs45,000 on a number of occasions but was not willing to file a complaint with the police. There was this nationalised bank employee woman who had paid nearly 150,000 on various occasions for getting her daughter married! There was the one who had paid Rs 80,000 and had also booked a ticket to Bengaluru for both of them. He was told that the pain in his knee joint was due to possession by a Brahma rakshasa, which could be treated only by a specialist there! There was another well-educated woman whose children are in the USA who had paid Rs 42,000 and backed out when asked for Rs 3.5 lakh for a bigger Puja! He had not spared even the lowly paid working women around him. There were two who were working as maids in houses nearby and had paid him Rs 6000 and Rs 13000 respectively for solving their problems. Needless to add none of them got any relief.
It was not that only Hindus who were the victims. There was a Roman Catholic man who had paid more than Rs 2 lakh for scotching the love affair of his daughter with a boy who he felt was not suitable for his status. Needless to add, the affair could not be terminated. There was another Roman Catholic bachelor who was not finding a suitable match at a ripe old age of 40 or that is what he thought of himself! There was this Roman Catholic woman who was abandoned by her husband. Since she had no money had handed over even her wedding ring to him which he sold promptly! Needless to add even the Christians were not helped by the Pujas! But the representation of Muslims in the list of cheated ones is very poor there was only one who was relieved of a paltry Rs 2500! It was not just money that he demanded. There were payments in kind too. He had demanded wheat flour and oil of particular brands only which were the most expensive on the market!
In these days of caste based statistics, one has to take a look at that too! Most of the victims belonged to OBCs and the exception was one single Gowd Saraswath Brahmin! There Bunts, Ganigas, Pujaris Dalits and so on! It looked as if the upper castes knew very well that this man was posing as a Brahmin called Sharma. It was not that this was unique to this ‘astrologer’. All of this ilk flaunt brahminical names like Bhat, Sharma, Poduval etc. When driven to the wall they admit that it is not their name but that of their guru or more conveniently Guru Bhai! They also have a network of thugs supporting each other when we went for the sting operation there were three of them hovering around! They have an organised gang in which there are so called seniors (the older members of the gang), consultants who have to perform the so-called ‘complicated’ Pujas, the bouncers to throw out those who demanded their money back and so on. In fact, the gang of these came to release the arrested cheat Sharma on bail the very next morning.
Two other interesting cases have come up as we are going to press. One is that of a local oracle who was cheated of 170,000 rupees! While I asked him as to how that was possible and whether he being an oracle could not know that this man was a cheat, the oracle replied that it was a complicated case beyond his powers and hence he had taken the victim to this man! One more case is that of a government servant who had paid 40,000 to this man for expediting the sale of some land belonging to her! She did not know that the cheat astrologer was arrested and since his cell phone was switched off had come to demand her money back!
This racket involving such astrology and cheating in the name of setting right problems by rituals looks like it is a well-organized one going since long and needs to be investigated thoroughly and we demand that the state govt set up a commission to enquire into such. We have also had calls from all over the state complaining of such frauds. The SADDEST PART OF THIS WHOLE SORDID AFFAIR IS THAT EACH OF THE VICTIMS HAD GONE TO THIS MAN LURED BY ADS ON TV CHANNELS! So, it is time for the state government to think of banning such advertisements.
Vasudev Uchil of Samudaya and Pramila DYFI activist were also present.