Controversial ascetic Ram Bahadur Bomjan, who has been accused of being involved in the disappearance of four of his disciples, has been preparing to visit Thailand.
Sources say that Bomjan, with his team, is going to Thailand to “collect cash offerings”. “They have been trying to visit Thailand for the past four months. Their passports were made two years ago,” said one of the followers of Bomjan’s ashram in Indrawati Rural Municipality-5, in Sindhupalchok. Bodhi Dharma Shrawan Sangh Maitri, the non-government organisation founded by Bomjan, has started the process to go to Thailand to collect more than Rs10 million of cash offerings, he said.
Although Bomjan’s team is planning to visit Thailand, police have been keeping Bomjan and his ashrams under close watch. A special investigation team started their investigation from Wednesday after knowing that four of Bomjan’s disciples—Sancha Lal Waiba and three other nuns—have been missing for years. Waiba, Fulmaya Rumba, and Chunmo Dolma Tamang have been out of contact with their families for years. They were last seen at Bomjan’s ashram. On January 4, police raided and sealed the ashram of Bomjan in the forest of Indrawati Rural Municipality. The investigation officers suspect the missing people have been murdered, as they recovered wrappers of salt packets and coals during the search operation. Salt and coal are items that are used to accelerate the decomposition process of human bodies.
Sources said that Bomjan, Kebal Lama (of the Sangh Maitri) and their group had received invitation to visit Thailand prior to the investigation. Two years ago, the Sangh had urged authorities to provide a passport to Bomjan in the name of Dharma Guru, but there were issues with the request. The incident was hidden from public knowledge, as it could have aroused public dispute, say Bomjan’s followers.
Relatives of Waiba and the three other missing nuns lodged complaints with the police that their kin have disappeared from Bomjan’s ashram. Waiba’s son Mahendra had filed a complaint with the police, saying his father had gone missing from Bomjan’s ashram. Bomjan, who in 2005 earned the media moniker “Buddha Boy” for allegedly meditating for months without food, water or sleep, has ashrams in Bara, Sarlahi, Sindhupalchok and Sindhuli districts. There are eight huts in Bomjan’s ashram at Todkebari, Sindhupalchok, which occupy about 80 ropanies of land. It is learnt that 14 of his followers have been staying in the ashram currently.
Locals said that the Sangh only allows followers and members of the Sangh to enter Bomjan’s ashram. The Sangh has formed a separate surveillance group to keep the incidents of the ashram secret, locals say. Laxman Thapa, a local man of Badegaun in Indrawati Rural Municipality, said iron-wire fences surround the ashram, and people can only visit the ashram if the Sangh permits it.