An Indian spiritual guru-turned- movie-star allegedly convinced up to 400 men to castrate themselves because it would bring them closer to God.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports the procedures are thought to have taken place around the year 2000, but victims are only coming forward after getting over initial fears of speaking out against the widely-beloved Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, who has around 40 to 50 million followers worldwide.
Known as "the guru in bling" and worth an estimated 40 million USD, Singh reportedly urged his followers that having their testicles removed would allow them to meet God and speak with Him directly.
Witnesses of the castrations say they were conducted at a hospital owned by Singh's spiritual organization.
Several witnesses have agreed to testify in court, possibly putting an end to Singh's history of avoiding conviction.
He was charged with conspiracy involving the murder of an investigative journalist in 2002, and several female followers claim he sexually abused them.
Singh was not jailed, however, supposedly thanks to politicians who believe his authority commands votes.
The current case was brought upon by The Central Bureau of Investigation, which is India's version of the FBI, and accuses Singh of grievous bodily harm.
A source told Indian media,
CBI sleuths met some old Dera followers and were, thus, successful in tracing some others who were castrated in the name of God. Some of the castrated followers, who agreed to record their statements before the judicial magistrate, have left for Delhi where the case has been registered.
The publicizing of the castrations has already tarnished Singh's reputation, at least for movie-goers.
Ticket sales for his latest film, "MSG: The Messenger," are supposedly so low that Singh is reportedly buying them in bulk to maintain profits.
Citations: Investigators have made a breakthrough in the case of 400 followers of the so-called guru in bling who followed their masters advice and castrated themselves in an effort to meet God directl (Sydney Morning Herald)