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Sakshi Maharaj is a self-proclaimed godman and Bharatiya Janata Party, politician. He is among the leading Islamophobes in India and is known for regularly making anti-Muslim and anti-Christian statements. He won both the 2014 and 2020 general elections from Unnao, Uttar Pradesh.
He also runs an extensive network of ashrams and schools across the state and is extremely popular among his disciples.
Sakshi Maharaj was involved in the movement to demolish Babri Masjid in 1992.
In 2000, a college principal in Etah filed a police complaint accusing Maharaj and two of his nephews of gang-raping her. The woman and her male associate were assaulted by the godman while driving to Agra from Etah. Maharaj had to spend a month in Tihar jail on rape charges but was eventually let off.
In 2005, another rape complaint was filed against him in Farrukhabad by a disciple of his ashram. The woman was from Mainpuri and still maintains that Sakshi Maharaj had taken advantage of her and raped her in the ashram.
He is also accused of corruption. In December 2005, STAR TV reported that it had carried out a sting operation and found that some parliamentarians were misusing the funds meant for members of Parliament. Sakshi Maharaj, then a Rajya Sabha member, was among the 11 named parliamentarians. Sakshi had promised funds for a fictitious NGO. On 21 March 2006, the Rajya Sabha voted to expel Sakshi for violating the code of conduct while rejecting his apology.
He is also accused in murder of Sujata Verma, a principal who used to run one of his colleges, and Brahm Dutt Dwivedi, a senior BJP leader.
Since becoming the Lok Sabha MP in 2014, he has claimed that madrasas teach students terrorism and “love jihad,” called Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse a patriot, asked Hindu women to protect their religion by producing at least four children, and declared that cow slaughter and conversion to Islam and Christianity would soon be punishable by death.
“Muslim youth in madrasas are being motivated for “love jihad” with offers of cash rewards — Rs 11 lakh for an “affair” with a Sikh girl, Rs 10 lakh for a Hindu girl, and Rs 7 lakh for a Jain girl. Government should stop giving them financial aid.”
“Those (Muslims) with four wives and 40 children are responsible for the population increase in the country. Hindus are not responsible for the increase in population. Strict laws are required in this country if we really want to curb population. Parties need to rise above politics and take decision for the sake of the country.”
“Whether for one, two, three or four kids… unless we have a common law for everyone, the country will not benefit…So both the government and the opposition should come together to bring a strict law and those who do not follow it should be stripped of their voting right,”
“There are around 2 to 2.5 crore ‘sadhus’ in the country and if we start building ‘samadhis’ for all of them, one can imagine the amount of land that will be needed. Similarly, there are 20 crore Muslims in India, and if all have to be buried, then what about the land availability They should burn their dead?”
“A law will be passed in Parliament in which anyone indulging in cow slaughter and conversion will be punished with the death sentence.”