December 5, 2019 09:23 AM NPT
By: Amar Khadka
Krishna Das Giri
ITAHARI, Dec 5: When he was in Pokhara a few years back and later at Chatara of Sunsari, Krishna Das Giri aka Siddhababa used to tell his followers that he has powers to sit for meditation under the earth (samadhi), fly in the air and even remain under water for some time.
In the aforementioned places, he was even believed to have taken Samadhi under the earth. Following his growing popularity and influence, he was given public felicitation in Pokhara in March this year.
On Monday, police arrested the same person in connection with a rape case. While the investigation is underway, an interesting story of his VVIP connection is unfolding.
Giri would claim himself to be a master of Aayurveda, saying he did higher studies from several universities. In 2006, he had conducted a health camp to promote Aayurveda in Chatara where Nepal Communist Party chair as well as former prime minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal and the then Indian ambassador to Nepal Ranjit Ray were among his guests. The guests participated in the entire ritual during the health camp.
High ranking officials, towering figures from the industrial sector, civil society leaders and other influential persons sitting around him was not rare for his followers. One in his close followers was former speaker Krishna Bahadur Mahara, who is now in jail on charge of attempt to rape a female staffer at parliament secretariat. Mahara used to visit Giri for blessings quite often and people have now made fun of the two on social media as both of them have been facing similar charges.
Last year, Chief Minister of Province 1 Sherdhan Rai had also participated in Yoga Day celebrations organized by Giri's ashram. Former prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba is also among his acquaintances. Deuba's wife Araju Rana would also approach Giri for blessings.
Giri came to Chatara due to his connection with another religious leader Bal Santa Devacharya. It is said that Bal Santa encouraged Giri to pursue Hindu philosophy. Bal Santa had influential people around him, and that was how Giri also build rapport with them later. Over the time, Giri became more and more popular, both among VVIPs as well as the general public.
Former minister Krishna Prasad Situala, Chitralekha Yadav, Bijay Kumar Gachchhadar, Lal Babu Pandit are some of the high-profile names who used attend events organized by his ashram. Similarly, Prime Minister KP Oli, President Bidhya Bhandari, leader Pradeep Nepal and Modanath Prashit were also seen in his public functions. Yet others in his fold were former CIAA Chief Lokman Singh Karki, former chief justice Damodar Sharma.
His craze had heightened even more after Chief Minister Rai publicly said that 'he trusts Siddha Baba and his divinity'. Due to his close links with the people in power, Giri had been able to expand his ashrams in public lands. He has built buildings with 128 rooms in 13 bigha of land near Sunsari-Morang Irrigation Project Area in Chatara.
Remarkably, squatters were chased away from the land five years ago using excavators and dozers. But the authorities did nothing against Giri. While Giri is under investigation, the messages sent to Giri by the woman who has accused him of rape has also drawn controversy. The messages explicitly express her craze for him. The 29-year-old mother from Kaski has said in television interviews that she was lured by Giri and she developed that kind of feelings for him.