The latest activity of these fake babas revolves around earthen bowls, which they claim can ward off the evil eye, and each is sold for anything between Rs. 1,100 and Rs. 21,000

What difference can an earthen bowl with inscriptions, a few nails, an egg and handful of grains make?

Pay a visit to the Old City and enlighten yourselves at the hands of the many ‘faith-healers’. The bowl, they will tell you, would bring fortune and ward off the evil eye.

Fake babas operating in the city continue cheat the public with such dubious tactics, despite frequent drives by police to check their activities.

Their latest activity revolves around an earthen bowl, which they sell for anything between Rs. 1,100 and Rs. 21,000. They claim that disposing the bowl at some place on a specific day would help rid a particular problem.

A chunk of the clients are women, who throng the so called ‘faith-healing’ dens, to get their issues resolved. But most of them end up getting cheated, it is said.

Tajuddin (name changed) lost about Rs. 3,500 to a faith-healer at Falaknuma recently.

“He made me believe that someone had performed black magic on my family and that it was the cause for most of my problems, including the ill-health of my children. He advised certain rituals that would bring an end to it,” he said.

Apparently afraid of being exposed, most victims do not come forward to lodge complaints with the police. And as a result, these phony babas enjoy a free run.

Though they are spread across the city, a good number of them operate from the Old City. They go into hiding at the time of police crackdown and after the heat is over, restart their activities, it is said.

‘Professional network’

A few fake babas from various other States have also put up their camps in the city and operate from hotels or apartments and woo the public by placing advertisements in newspapers and local TV channels.

“It is a professional network that involves a wide network of brokers. In a few cases, both mother-in-law and daughter-in-law also approach the same ‘faith healer’. Unless religious heads involve themselves in the issue, it will not end,” says Mohd Turab, executive secretary, COVA says.

The police have registered scores of cases against the phoneys in the past and booked them under section 420 (cheating) of the IPC and Prevention of Drugs and Remedies Act. But as the earnings are huge, the ‘faith healers’ are back into business once they come out on bail.

Police officials say they are keeping vigil on their activities and would launch a drive to weed them out. “It will be good if people come forward and lodge complaints,” a police official said.

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