Godman Nithyananda is in trouble again

Karnataka govt orders his arrest

The State Government on Monday ordered the arrest of controversial godman Nithyananda and directed the Ramanagara police to lock his ashram, Nithyananda Dhyanapeetam, at Bidadi, near here.  

The tainted godman is  at large, and police are expected to seal the ashram on Tuesday.

Nithyananda has been in the eye of a storm since he faced charges of sexual exploitation of women two years ago. He reportedly fled his Bidadi haven after protesters from various quarters demanded his arrest following the ashram inmates manhandling a journalist at Nithyananda’s instance on Thursday. The incident sparked off a series of protests by a number of organisations, pressuring the government to take action. Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda announced the decision at a press conference after holding a meeting with Law Minister Suresh Kumar and Home Minister R Ashoka. Gowda said police have been asked to seal the ashram immediately. 

“The directions have been given to arrest Nithyananda wherever he is. Officials have also been asked to maintain law and order in the ashram area. The deputy commissioner of Ramanagara has been asked to take possession of the ashram. Also, the government will move court opposing anticipatory bail sought by Nithyananda. The regional commissioner has been asked to probe into the allegations against Nithyananda and activities of the ashram,” Gowda said. 

The Congress and the JD (S) have been vocal with their demand for the ashram to be closed, ever since some women on television accused the godman of sexually exploiting them. 

Trouble for the godman started brewing in 2010 after a Tamil TV channel aired a sting operation purportedly him and actress Ranjitha in a compromising position. He went underground thereafter, even as the State police registered cases against him.  He was arrested by a team of the State Criminial Investigation Department from Solan district in Himachal Pradesh and was released on bail two months later.

Nithyananda lay low for over a year. Of late, he reopened his ashram in Thiruvannamalai, from where he began, and the Bidadi ashram, too, began buzzing with activity. However, occasional TV coverage of the bizarre devotional ‘dances’ by women at the ashram have only brought him ridicule and now punitive action by the government. 
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