Scams around the Ram Temple in Ayodhya

Devotees are fooled with promises of Free prasad, VIP entry etc.

There is a euphoria among many sections of the people in the country regarding the consecration ceremony of Ram Temple in Ayodhya. The bloody history and the shoddy Court proceedings over time doesn’t matter anymore for many, especially those in the Hindutva camp. There is a sense of victory that is being displayed and a ‘Hindu pride’ is invoked in the temple’s construction. The stated position is that a temple once stood in the controversial site in Ayodhya which was demolished to make way for the Ram Temple and now the mosque has been demolished to build a temple again in the same site. However, this is an unverified claim that a temple existed in the site where Babri Masjid once stood.

Despite all the controversy and complicated history surrounding the temple, many have been sold on the idea of a historic moment for Hindus throughout the country and many desire to see the temple inauguration ceremony. The Government has announced special trains and planes from various parts of the country to reach Ayodhya. Using this as an opportunity, many have conspired to scam unwitting devotees and trick them into paying money for ‘free prasad’ and VIP entries.

Khadi Organic’s Prasad:

The most notorious of these scams is done by Khadi Organic. It is a website that supposedly sells organic products, and the company has initially promised that ‘prasads’ from Ram Temple in Ayodhya would be available for free in select check points across the country if they register in their website.  Then, the Khadi Organic claimed that the prasad would be delivered door-to-door and a delivery charge of Rs.51 would be taken due to increasing demand. This was promoted and shared by many in the social media as well and some news outlets such as Times Now and India Times too reported that devotees can get free ‘prasad’ delivered by placing orders through Khadi Organic website.

Seemingly, many have placed orders and have been taking to social media with various issues such as not getting a confirmation message, order not showing up on their profile etc. The pressure caused by such posts and the volume of orders received forced the company to stop taking orders. The devotees who placed these orders have been alleging that they have been scammed which prompted the company’s founder, Ashish Singh, to respond.

In a YouTube video which is uploaded to the company’s YouTube channel, Ashish had said that the company is in touch with 4 individuals with passes/invites for the consecration ceremony and they would get the prasad from the temple, which would then be mixed with the prasad made by his company which would be distributed to the people. Ashish also pointed out that the prasad can be sent only after they receive the official prasad from the temple through the said 4 individuals. The company is not officially affiliated with the Ram Temple or the Ram Janmabhoomi Trust that governs the temple. It is important to note that the temple had clarified that the prasad has not been made online yet.

VIP passes, Android apps and QR Codes:

Many have been receiving apk installation files for an Android app which is named as “Ram Janmabhoomi Grihsampark Abhiyan.apk” which would phish the user’s personal information and may even take remote access to the phone. Vinod Bansal, the National spokesperson of Vishwa Hindu Parishad, has posted several warning messages regarding the scam which promise VIP darshan

He also warned about QR codes that are being circulated which falsely claim to be the QR for the bank account of the Ram Janmabhoomi Temple Trust.

Potential offline scams:

There is a possibility of offline scams and fleecing schemes whenever there is a public rush, be it a concert, a tourist destination or a temple function. Similar threat exist as there is a great public interest generated for the Ram Temple in Ayodhya and if there are, they have not been uncovered yet. Devotees and travelers should stay vigilant to avoid being scammed.

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Ramasamy Jayaprakash

Ramasamy works as a Senior Sub-Editor at YouTurn and writes articles in Tamil and English. He also makes videos for YouTurn's Tamil & English YouTube channels.
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