Kathmandu, 12 Jan : On January 10, a renowned spiritual leader from Nepal, Ram Bahadur Bomjan, was apprehended on charges related to the alleged rape of minors and the disappearance of followers from his ashram over the span of several years. Prior to his arrest, Bomjan had been evading authorities, who were investigating claims of sexual misconduct and devotees vanishing from his spiritual retreat.
Nepal Police revealed that the 33-year-old spiritual figure is accused of a prolonged history of both physical and sexual abuse against devotees, including minors. Bomjan gained fame during his teenage years for his remarkable ability to meditate motionlessly for extended periods without the need for sustenance such as water, food, or sleep. His disciples revered him as a reincarnation of Buddha, bestowing upon him the moniker ‘Buddha Boy.’ The Bodhi Shrawan Dharma Sangha, his ashram, attracted visitors from around the world eager to meet him.
‘Buddha Boy’ was arrested in Kathmandu based on a warrant linked to the alleged rape of a minor at an ashram situated in the Sarlahi district. Police reported that during his arrest, he was found in possession of substantial amounts of cash, totaling 30 million Nepali rupees ($225,000), along with an additional $22,500 in foreign currency.
Having eluded authorities for several years, Bomjan was finally apprehended, as stated by Kuber Kadayat, a spokesperson for the Nepal Police, in comments to Agence France Presse. Allegations of rape, abuse, and disappearances surrounding him stretch back over a decade. In 2010, numerous complaints of physical abuse were filed, asserting that he subjected devotees to violence when they disrupted his meditation.
The first rape accusation against Bomjan surfaced in 2018 when an 18-year-old nun came forward. Subsequently, in the following year, an additional investigation was initiated after reports of four devotees going missing. As of the latest update, the whereabouts of these individuals remain unknown, according to Dinesh Acharya from the Nepal Central Investigation Bureau.
Acharya clarified, “Unless we know what situation the missing are in, we are not in a position to call it murder.” Prior to going into hiding, Bomjan purportedly retained a substantial following, even as accusations against him mounted. With tens of thousands of followers globally, his devotees flocked to witness his supposed ‘miracles’ of meditation, often taking place in the dense jungles of eastern Nepal. Notably, at the age of 16, he disappeared into a thick forest, causing concern among monks and followers until his safe return nine months later.