Controversial self-styled godwoman Radhe Maa has refuted allegations of dowry harassment against her and said there was a conspiracy to defame her. In an interview to a news channel, the godwoman, whose real name is Sukhvinder Kaur, claimed her name was dragged into the matter only so that the complainant could “make money”. In 2015, a woman, Niki Gupta, complained that the godwoman had incited her parents-in-law to harass her for dowry, following which a charge sheet was filed against Radhe Maa.
However, Kandivali police had dropped the name of Radhe Maa from the list of accused on the ground that there was no evidence against her. The complainant then approched the Bombay High Court, which asked the police to record the woman’s statement.
On September 10,2107, the Borivali metropolitan magistrate rejected a discharge application filed by Radhe Maa and observed that she was “directly connected” with the incident of domestic violence.
Who is Radhe Maa
Radhe Maa was born in Punjab’s Hoshiarpur district and her followers claim she was drawn to spirituality as a child. However, according to people of her village, she did not show any spiritual leanings as a child.
The godwoman, known for wearing flashy clothes, was married at a young age of 17 and stitched clothes to supplement her husband’s meagre income from a sweets shop in Mukerian. However, after a few years her husband left for the Gulf in search of better opportunities and she joined the local Paramhans Dera and began holding satsangs.
Soon, she gained popularity and began portraying herself as the reincarnation of goddess Durga. Sometime in 2003-04, a Hindu organisation in Phagwara objected to this, following which she was forced to tender an apology and decided to shift base to Mumbai.
In Mumbai, she gained fame due to her unorthodox methods of blessing her devotees – dancing with them and letting them carry her in their arms. Mumbai businessman Sanjeev Gupta became her devotee and promoted Radhe Maa’s ‘divyadarshans’ through lavish billboards across the city, which also helped broaden her popularity among film stars and several personalities.
However, the godwoman has a long list of controversies. Recently, the SHO of Delhi’s Vivek Vihar police station was suspended for allowing Radhe Maa to sit in his official seat and “singing along with her”.
In 2016, an FIR was lodged against her under the Arms Act for carrying a ‘trishul’ (trident) on a flight from Aurangabad to Mumbai last year. In the same year, a case was lodged against her for impersonating Goddess Durga and cheating devotees by taking money from them.
In 2015, TV actress Dolly Bindra accused Radhe Maa of intimidation, sexual harassment and voyeurism and an FIR was filed. Bindra, who was a follower of the godwoman, said her prayer meetings were “obscene” and Radhe Maa would “force” her to “get close” to her male devotees.
Recently, Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad, the apex body of Hindu sadhus, placed her on its list of 14 “fake babas”.