Nithyananda ashram under scanner for child rights violation

Action against controversial self-styled godman Nithyananda for alleged child rights’ violation may be initiated after November 7, after a complete inquiry in the matter has been carried out.

“We have planned a course of action in association with the police to rescue the children at the ashram. This will be done after we obtain permission from the head office which will most probably be after November 7,” said an official at the district child protection unit, Ramanagara.

A study to find the origin of 89 children at the ashram is being conducted by the Child Welfare Committee (CWC). Following a notice issued by the Department of Women and Child Welfare, the Deputy Commissioner’s office and District Child Welfare Committee in October, children from the ashram had attended a counselling session by CWC with their parents.

“We doubt if those who attended the counselling session were actually the parents of the children. In addition to this, we need to verify the authenticity of various information, including their places of residences. We have asked the district child protection units (DCPU) from Kerala and Andhra Pradesh to help us out,” said another official from the DCPU, Ramanagara.

The ashram came under the scanner when a team from the Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (KSCPCR) and Department of Women and Child (DWCD) were refused entry. It was later discovered that as many as 109 children from Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu and foreign countries like Singapore, Malaysia and USA were studying in the ashram, despite the ashram not being recognised by the Education department or the DWCD.

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