Police Warn People Against Bogus Tantriks in UK
Leicester police issued leaflets asking residents to be aware of fake faith or spiritual healers.
Police officials in the East Midlands city of Leicester have issued leaflets in Punjabi, Gujarati and English, asking people to be wary of bogus faith healers. The cautionary leaflets have been predominantly issued in the city’s Belgrave and Rushey Mead areas, which are dominated by people of Indian origin and are centers of Indian/ Asian businesses.
Officers from Leicestershire Police’s Belgrave and Rushey Mead areas posted their warning on the Belgrave Community Facebook page on Jan. 13.
Leicester, which has a large population comprising people of Indian origin, has a lot of faith healers who, according to the police, “are tricksters and conmen who are linked to organized criminal networks,” Leicester Mercury reported. They target the vulnerable and offer services through flyers, local radio and adverts.
“These individuals prey on people when they are at their most vulnerable – people who are under great strain due to unfortunate life circumstances…They are believed to operate nationwide and to move location across the country,” the leaflet says.
Several residents of Leicester have been victims to conmen. Kamalji, a “bogus baba,” was sentenced to nine years in prison after he was found guilty of 14 counts of fraud involving 18 victims in 2016. His prison term was extended by five more years for failing to pay back £613,500 that was conned from his victims.
“I appeal to the Asian community that now is the time to wake up, think logically and understand that ‘tantrics’ and ‘babas’ have no more extraordinary powers than what you have,” Sachdev Virdee of Asian Rationalist Society Britain was quoted as saying by the Hindustan Times at the time of Kamalji’s sentencing.
The Leicestershire Police’s latest leaflet on the issue says: “Belgrave and Rushey Mead police are alerting residents to be aware of bogus faith or spiritual healers. Please remind family and friends, especially those who may be suffering from stress or worry, not to be drawn into handing over large amounts of money for these ‘services’.”
Palmists, astrologers and other fake spiritual healers offer their services in various parts of the United Kingdom, especially in areas with large population of Indian/Asian origin, such as Hounslow and Wembley in London, Birmingham and Manchester.
“They offer their services to people who may have business problems, marital disputes or are in poor health. They will advertise their services through local and national radio, newspaper adverts and flyers which are delivered door to door,” a police spokesman told the Hindustan Times. “They will claim that money given to them will be returned to their victims many times over and threaten those who do not pay with curses and black magic. If anyone is aware of anyone claiming to be a faith healer, we would like to hear from you.”