BARA, Jan13: The District Police Office (DPO), Bara, has launched a probe into the complaints filed against Ram Bahadur Bomjon, a self-proclaimed spiritual leader, and his followers on the charge of disappearing some of his followers and attacking locals. The police move follows complaints registered at the DPO accusing Bomjon, popularly known as Buddha Boy, of arbitrarily attacking the locals and disappearing one of his followers from the district.
Bara police chief Superintendent of Police (SP) Sanuram Bhattarai informed Republica that police have already started an investigation based on the complaints filed against Bomjon. The investigation, according to SP Bhattarai, has considered both registered and unregistered complaints. SP Bhattarai said a few locals have registered complaints against Bomjon although many complaints remain unregistered. “We have been investigating both registered and unregistered complaints,” said Bhattarai.
It has been revealed that Bomjon, who some locals believe is a reincarnation of Buddha, was involved in numerous controversies during his stay at the Halkhoriya-based Namo Budda ashram (hermitage). Bomjon and his followers had stayed there for nearly seven years starting from 2007.
During his stay at the ashram, Bomjon allegedly held captive a Slovakian follower, beat locals and attacked a local youth with a sword and registered the land in the name of the ashram, according to the former ashram officials.
Bed Bahadur Thing, who had then worked as the chairman of the ashram admitted that Bomjon's followers had physically attacked some locals to deter them from entering the ashram without permission. Thing admitted that he was forced to resign from the position after taking as the ashram chief for five years after controversies started surfacing one after another.
Thing said he was associated with the ashram impressed by Bomjon's relentless meditation for 10-months without having food and sleep. Thing resigned as the ashram chief in 2011. “When he started mediation, he was good. But as he grew up, he and his followers were dragged into several controversies,” said Thing, adding, 'Then, he has been accused of holding women hostages, attacking the locals and disappearing a youth. It is essential to investigate these matters.”
Despite his involvement in multiple controversies in the pretext of religion, the police overlooked his 'wrongdoings' for long.
In 2013, Bomjon and his followers physically attacked around a dozen locals including Pradeshi Chaudhari and Pahalad Chaudhary of Manaharwa on the charge of entering the ashram without permission. Following the incident, Pahalad had filed a complaint at the District Administration Office saying that he was attacked while collecting wildflowers from the forest. He complained that the police did not take action against Bomjon despite formal registration of complaint against Bomjon.
The District Forest Office, Bara, says Bomjon and his followers were removed from the Halkhoriya-based ashram after they were found involved in criminal activities. The ashram was constructed encroaching upon more than 1000 bighas of national forest. “The then District Forest Officer Ramananda Sah had removed them from the ashram after locals were barred from entering the forest in the name of the ashram,” said DFO Shiva Shankar Thakur.
According to Bara DPO, Hasta Bahadur Magar had filed a complaint against Bomjon and his followers on the charge of disappearing his Son, Suresh. The whereabouts of 34-year-old Suresh is still unknown.
Jas Bahadur Waiba, Bomjon's assistant, had taken Suresh to the Halkhoriya-based ashram to teach Buddhism. “He was in a great dilemma over whether to return to the ashram when he had come home in the third week of May 2015. Since then, he is out of contact. We are clueless about his whereabouts,” said Hasta Bahadur.