Nepal probes ‘Buddha boy’ over devotee disappearances

‘Buddha Boy’ Ram Bahadur Bomjan, seen here in 2008, became famous after followers said he could meditate motionless for months without water, food or sleep. (AFP)
Updated 07 January 2019

Nepal probes ‘Buddha boy’ over devotee disappearances

  • ‘The police have started investigating these complaints against Bomjan,’ a spokesman for Nepal’s Central Investigation Bureau said
  • Thousands of worshippers queue for days to witness his so-called miracles of meditation deep in the jungle

KATMANDU: A Nepali spiritual leader believed by his followers to be a reincarnation of Buddha is under investigation over the disappearance of several devotees, police in Katmandu said Monday.
Ram Bahadur Bomjan, dubbed “Buddha Boy,” became famous in 2005 after followers said he could meditate motionless for months without water, food or sleep in Nepal’s jungles.
The 28-year-old guru has a devout following but has been accused of physically and sexually assaulting some of his flock.
Special police investigators have begun inquiries after the families of four of Bomjan’s devotees allegedly vanished from his ashrams.
“The police have started investigating these complaints against Bomjan,” Uma Prasad Chaturbedi, a spokesman for Nepal’s Central Investigation Bureau, said.
“The investigation is in preliminary stage and we cannot share many details.”
Bomjan has long been dogged by accusations of abuse in deeply spiritual Nepal, even as thousands of worshippers queued for days to witness his so-called miracles of meditation deep in the jungle.
In September last year, an 18-year-old nun accused the guru of raping her at one of his ashrams.
Dozens more have filed complaints against him alleging assault. The self-styled godman said he beat them for disturbing his meditation.
The Bodhi Shrawan Dharma Sangha, an organization associated with the guru, recently slammed as baseless a series of fresh allegations made by a local website, Setopati.com, which published reports detailing cases of disappearances, sexual assault and violence in his ashrams.


Indian sentenced to death in Pakistan for spying ‘refused to file review’

Updated 08 July 2020

Indian sentenced to death in Pakistan for spying ‘refused to file review’

  • Former naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav was arrested in Balochistan in March 2016 and convicted the following year
  • The World Court has ordered Pakistan to review the decision to impose the death penalty in the case

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Wednesday that an Indian man convicted of spying and sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court has refused to file a review petition against the verdict.


Kulbhushan Jadhav was arrested in March 2016 in Pakistan’s southwestern Balochistan province, where there is a long-running conflict between security forces and separatists. The following year he was convicted of espionage and planning sabotage, and sentenced to death.


India insists Jadhav is innocent, and last year the World Court ordered Pakistan to review the decision to impose the death penalty.


“On June 17, 2020 commander Jadhav was invited to file a petition for review and reconsideration of his sentence and conviction,” said Zahid Hafeez, Pakistan’s director general for South Asia at the ministry, during a joint press conference with Additional Attorney General Ahmad Irfan.


“Pakistan also offered to assist in legal representation for Jadhav. Exercising his legal rights, Cmdr. Jadhav refused to file a petition for review and reconsideration of his sentence. He instead preferred to follow up on his pending mercy petition.”


Hafeez said that Pakistan has repeatedly invited the High Commission of India to file a petition at Islamabad High Court in connection with the death penalty handed to Jadhav, and that he hopes India will cooperate with the Pakistani courts. 
He added that Pakistan has offered consular access to Jadhav for a second time, in addition to a meeting with his wife and father. 
Jadhav’s wife and mother were granted permission to visit him in 2017, eight months after he was sentenced to death.

According to 
Pakistani authorities, Jadhav confessed that he was ordered by India’s intelligence service to carry out espionage and sabotage in Balochistan, a province that is part of the $60 billion, Chinese-backed Belt and Road Initiative, a multinational development project.


In a transcript released by Pakistan of Jadhav’s confession, the former naval officer is quoted as saying the disruption of Chinese-funded projects was a main goal of his activities.