Indian community leaders form 'Sadhu busters' to out witch doctors

Indian Community leaders Thakur Ranjit Singh and Pratima Nand speak at the meeting.
JARRED WILLIAMSON/FAIRFAX NZ

Indian Community leaders Thakur Ranjit Singh and Pratima Nand speak at the meeting.

Indian community leaders are banding together, calling themselves "Sadhu busters" to flush out witch doctors preying on vulnerable people.

Thakur Ranjit Singh and community leader Pratima Nand coined the term at a meeting held in Mt Roskill on Saturday.

Nand outed the issue of "priests", known in Hindi as Sadhu (holy men), operating in South Auckland and other parts of the country.

She said in some cases the witch doctors were charging up to $16,000 to solve personal vendettas through black magic.

The group is gearing up to put pressure on Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse to provide answers to the victims.

Nand, who chaired the meeting, said changes would need to be made to the tourist visa scheme, which is how the men are entering the country, she said.

The various leaders agreed that further investigation would be needed into the men's visa sponsors and whether they were benefiting financially. 

The group also agreed to establishing a social media presence for people to share their experiences of the witch doctors.

Nand said it would reach people not only in Auckland, but all over the world. 

"Judges and police are just doing their job, they're bound by laws. It's the law makers, the politicians that can make change.

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"We want people to share their ideas on what needs to change and then we can address the Immigration Minister."

As for the victims, Singh said vulnerable Indo-Fijian people were often caught up in the scam.

"For many from Fiji they see these 'holy men' from India, that speak fluent hindi, and that are promised all these things," he said.

"They play on our vulnerabilities, many people are going to them with real problems."

People coming from India would be more likely to spot who was "playing tricks", he said. 

Chandu Dali from the Auckland Indian Association said it was not aware of any of its members being targeted by the witch doctors.

But members were all still concerned about the behaviour, he said. 

 - Stuff

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