If you’re a rail commuter, little chance that you’ve missed posters in train compartments which proclaim how numerous ‘babas’ could help you get rid of all life’s maladies.
Piqued, when 55-year-old Ramchandra Karve, a Reserve Bank of India (RBI) employee, called up all the numbers, he found that they belonged to one man who calls himself ‘Bengali baba’.
“Last year, I came across reports that these ‘babas’ were involved in crimes such as rape, murder and were also duping innocent believers. I am glad that now, the railway authorities have woken up to this menace,” said Karve, who is a regular rail commuter. He commutes between Thane and Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus every day, and adds that there are at least 20 ‘Bengali baba’ posters across compartments in each train.
Karve, who is a senior level officer at the RBI in Fort, said that he is committed to fight for passengers’ security. “This is an illegal exercise and these babas are ruthless criminals. We read and watch reports about their crimes in the media every day. Yet, many people get attracted to them because of their vulnerability. Many people in the city lead difficult lives and are desperate to get rid of their problems,” adds Karve.
When Karve realised that the railway administration was doing little to address this menace, he began jotting down the numbers from posters and made a few calls. Interestingly, he found that different posters had the same number. For example, Baba Ajmeri, Baba Adil Shah and Baba Miya Khan had the same contact number.
When contacted, Railway officials claimed that they were doing their bit to nab the offenders. Alok Bohra, senior divisional security commissioner, Railway Protection Force (Central Railways), said, “Our drive to prevent people from putting posters up is on.”