Nepal police arrest spiritual leader ‘Buddha Boy’ over disappearances, rape

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Nepal police said on Wednesday they had arrested a spiritual leader whose devotees believe him to be a reincarnation of Buddha over allegations of disappearances and rape at his ashrams.

Ram Bahadur Bomjan, known as “Buddha Boy” among devotees, became famous as a teenager after followers said he could meditate motionless for months without water, food or sleep.

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The 33-year-old guru has a devout following but has long been accused of physically and sexually assaulting his followers, and had been hiding from authorities for several years.

“He was arrested after absconding for several years,” police spokesman Kuber Kadayat told AFP.

“He has several allegations against him including of disappearances and sexual exploitation.”

Dozens of assault complaints were filed against Bomjan in 2010. He said he beat the victims because they disturbed his meditation.

An 18-year-old nun accused the guru of raping her at a monastery in 2018.

Special police investigators began an investigation in 2019 after a complaint by the families of four of Bomjan’s devotees who allegedly vanished from one of his ashrams.

A sexual exploitation complaint in another case was registered against him in Sarlahi, south of the capital Kathmandu, the following year.

Before he went on the run, Bomjan still commanded a legion of followers as the allegations against him mounted.

At one point tens of thousands of people had gathered to witness his reputed miracles of meditation deep in the jungle.

While aged 16, Bomjan disappeared for nine months to wander the wilderness of eastern Nepal, prompting a round-the-clock vigil by Buddhist monks who prayed for his safe return.

Read more: Indian court finds spiritual guru guilty of raping devotee

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