'Holy amulets' land Indian in unholy row in Nepal

'Holy amulets' land Indian in unholy row in Nepal  Kathmandu, Dec 26 : An Indian has been arrested along with his Nepali partner for

selling products described as amulets having supernatural powers in the Himalayan nation after complaints from some local astrological and religious organisations.

Madhav Vikram and his Nepali partner Hriday Jung Shah were arrested from Kathmandu on Christmas eve for illegally selling amulets known as 'Shivashakti kavach' manufactured by an organisation named Saptarishi Sansthan, which sold its products online and via the telephone.

The organisation has been running advertisement campaigns in both Nepal and India for the 'Shivashakti kavach' as well as 'Maa Navadurga kavach' and 'Sri Panchmukhi Hanuman kavach'.

These are touted as combining the holy power of various Hindu deities and promise the buyer life-transforming miracles.

The television advertisements show young men as saying the amulets protect them from road accidents, change their temperaments and make them hardworking and successful. The

men claim the amulets revived flagging businesses and restored their fortunes and


Women claimed in the advertisements that the amulets ended feuds among family members and restored harmony.

This month, Nepal's astrologers held a public interaction, objecting to the advertisements and the products, accusing the manufacturers of cashing in on people's religious beliefs and cheating them.

The two arrested men were running a racket in the Baneshwor area of the capital and sold the amulets over the phone.

Police have charged the duo with cheating as well as customs duty and sales tax evasion.

The two were said to be selling each amulet at over Nepali Rupees 5,000 but had neither tax nor customs clearance documents, police said, adding their business was not even registered in Nepal.

The amulet racket was headed by Bobby Joshi, who is currently in India, Nepali daily Kantipur reported.

The chief distributor, a man called Pavan Agrawal, is based in Birgunj town on the

India-Nepal border, the daily said quoting police.

Saptarishi Sansthan's website www. saptarishi. org gives no information about the people running the business but is meant merely to sell the product online.

Last year, Nepal police also conducted a crackdown on astrologers from India after complaints that they had taken money from "clients" promising jobs and success in love and business, but failed to deliver. (IANS)