Self-styled 'avatar' of Buddha, Dr Ambedkar booked
Soumittra S Bose, TNN, Apr 25, 2011, 04.25am IST
NAGPUR: The bearded Godman kept his arms tied with handcuffs. His legs
were also shackled with chains, and another chain joined the cuffs
securing his hands and legs. Dilip Gajbhiye, in his thirties, seemed
to wear the chains proudly, to justify the godly name adopted by him,
Shree Sant Vikhteshwar Bediwale.
Based at Dhariwal layout in Yogi Nagar, the baba enjoyed a following
of a sizeable number of devotees and described himself as an
incarnation of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar and Gautama Buddha. Gajbhiye used
to cite his birthday on April 14, which is also the birth anniversary
of Ambedkar, to authenticate his claims.
This turned out to be his undoing, as some followers of Buddhism took
umbrage at his antics and claims in the name of these two figures.
Local residents of Yogi Nagar dragged him to the Ajni police station
Ajni police booked Gajbhiye for fraud under the Indian Penal Code
(IPC) and other sections of Drugs and Magical Remedies (Objectionable
Advertisement) Act. He was placed under arrest. He was charged for
assuring to cure his devotees of ailments, ill luck and other
problems, including improving one's luck or getting a job. He had
allegedly promised Devendra Meshram, a local citizen, to cure his
stomach pain for Rs 1,000.
Gajbhiye's downfall began when he left Buddhist followers miffed and
hurt their religious feelings. He got himself photographed in the
nude, and placed the frames beside those of Ambedkar and Buddha. Apart
from calling himself an incarnation of these legends, he claimed to be
an 'avatar' or incarnation of Takalghat-based Baba Vikhtut, who is
also considered a prominent spiritual personality in the region.
Gajbhiye even took out a rally on April 14 to observe as Babasaheb
Ambedkar jayanti, from Dhariwal Nagar to Jai Bhim Nagar. He also
exhibited the photograph of himself in the nude along with Buddha and
Bhante Harshdeep, a monk residing at Chandramani Nagar, said there was
no place for blind faith and superstition in Buddhism and such
practices are barred in Buddhist culture. "The person concerned cannot
hurt the religious sentiments of the community. He was also indulging
in blasphemy by equating himself with the lord," said the monk.
However, Gajbhiye's supporters had also assembled at the police
station and refuted the charges levelled against him, claiming that he
was indeed equipped with special powers. "We will fight these
allegations legally," said one of Gajbhiye's followers.
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