Self-styled godman may have sneaked into TN

The Tamil Nadu Police stepped up vigil across the districts of Dharmapuri and Salem bordering Karnataka on Tuesday with the Bangalore Police on the lookout to arrest controversial godman Nithyananda on fresh allegations of sex abuse by some of his disciples.

 Even as special police teams from Karnataka have fanned out to different states to nab Nithyananda since his Ashram near Bangalore was sealed, there was flutter in parts of Salem and Erode districts today on unconfirmed reports that the self-styled Godman had sneaked into Tamil Nadu and took shelter in a farm house near Erode, but police officials in Erode district denied the reports.

 A beleaguered Nithyananda found himself cornered even more in Tamil Nadu after he was recently made the “Junior Pontiff” of the historic “Madurai Aadheenam” (mutt) in the temple city of Madurai, a monastic institution revered for its contributions to “Saiva Siddantha” Philosophy.

The present pontiff of “Madurai Aadheenam”, Arunagiri Nathar, has drawn considerable flak from Tamil social and religious groups for “arbitrarily”’ appointing Nithyananda, already facing sexual misconduct charges, to head a highly traditional mutt that traces its roots to the great Tamil Saint-poet Gnanasambandar of 7th century. Though Arunagiri Nathar continues to defend his decision to anoint Nithyananda as his successor to the “Madurai Aadheenam”, the controversial godman already faces legal challenges to his new position in the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court.

Some aides of Nithyananda, who was to split his responsibilities between the Bidadi ashram near Bangalore and the Madurai mutt, got into ugly brawls in the southern temple city recently after unseemly incidents. Pro-Hindu organisations even objected to the presence of Nithyananda’s presumed women devotees, including film star Ranjitha, at the “Madurai Aadheenam” and have vowed to remove him from that pontifical post sooner than later.

There was even a raid by Income-Tax officials at the Madurai mutt after Nithyananda entered it. The controversial godman was also locked in a verbal spat with the Kanchi Sankaracharya, Sri Jayendra Saraswathi, who openly went on record to say that Nithyananda was unfit to head the “Madurai Aadheenam”.

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