Asianet NewsableAsianet Newsable

Bhole Baba: Former UP cop who took VRS in 1990s to become religious preacher; check details

For 18 years, Singh served as a police officer, during which he was posted at 12 different police stations in western Uttar Pradesh, as well as in the state's intelligence unit. In the 1990s, he opted for voluntary retirement (VRS) and adopted the name Sakar Vishwa Hari.

Bhole Baba: Former UP cop who took VRS in 1990s to become religious preacher; check details AJR
Author
First Published Jul 3, 2024, 12:06 PM IST

The devastating stampede at a religious event in Hathras on Tuesday (July 2), which claimed the lives of over 100 people, has been linked to the preacher 'Sakar Vishwa Hari Bhole Baba,' formerly known as Surajpal Singh. Singh, a former Uttar Pradesh Police constable, left his position prematurely to become a religious leader.

For 18 years, Singh served as a police officer, during which he was posted at 12 different police stations in western Uttar Pradesh, as well as in the state's intelligence unit. In the 1990s, he opted for voluntary retirement (VRS) and adopted the name Sakar Vishwa Hari.

Who is 'Bhole Baba', self-styled godman whose Hathras satsang witnessed a stampede?

He quickly gained prominence in the religious circuit across north India, amassing a large following that includes senior government officials and politicians. His devotees are primarily located in western Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Rajasthan, and Delhi.

"Bhole Baba belongs to the Jatav community and has significant influence among SC/ST and OBC sections. Even some Muslims are among his followers," a police officer said. Notably, unlike many other spiritual leaders, Bhole Baba does not wear saffron attire and is not very active on social media.

During his sermons, he typically wears a white suit and white shoes, or sometimes a kurta-pyjama with a white cap.

Bhole Baba, who is usually accompanied by his wife, lives a luxurious life at his ashram in the Patiyali area of Kasganj. His events are large-scale affairs that attract massive crowds.

It is reportedly said that marriages are also conducted during these events. The weekly satsang, held every Tuesday, is managed by his volunteers, known as sevadars, who handle all aspects of the event, from food arrangements to traffic management.

The preacher has been involved in several controversies. In May 2022, during the Covid-19 pandemic, he organised a large congregation in Farrukhabad, defying the district administration's order that limited the gathering to 50 people. Instead, over 50,000 people attended, resulting in an FIR being filed against the organisers.

Hathras stampede: Devotees rushed to touch Bhole Baba, collect soil from under his feet caused commotion

Additionally, Bhole Baba's organisation faces multiple allegations of land grabbing, including the illegal occupation of seven bighas of land in Karsui village of Bidhnu area in Kanpur.

Bhole Baba's next event was scheduled to take place in Agra from July 4 to July 11, with preparations already underway. Following the stampede, Bhole Baba, who had arrived in Hathras in a convoy of over 60 SUVs after attending a satsang in Mainpuri, absconded with the help of his sevadars. Police teams are currently searching for him.

Latest Videos
Follow Us:
Download App:
  • android
  • ios