Nithyananda may have fled the country: Gujarat cops

Nithyananda

Controversial godman Nithyananda is said to have fled the country, days after an FIR was registered against him and his disciples for allegedly kidnapping children and forcing them to work as child labourers in Ahmedabad.

“We have gathered information that Nithyananda has fled the country. We are trying to locate him but so far we don’t know much,” said Ahmedabad District Superintendent of Police R V Asari, who is monitoring the investigation against Nithyananda.

On Thursday, the police arrested and later released Hitesh Puri, principal of Delhi Public School, East Ahmedabad and Bakul Thakkar, a manager of a residential house in connection with the case. Both of them had signed an agreement for renting the flat where more than a dozen children of the ashram had been allegedly kept in illegal custody.

On Wednesday, Ahmedabad police had arrested two women — Sadhvi Pran Priyananda and Priyatatva Riddhi Kiran, both disciples of Swami Nithyananda — for allegedly torturing and compelling children to work as labourers at a private flat for ten days. They were remanded to police custody for five days.

The action was based on the testimonies of two children who were rescued by the police. Sadhvi Pran Priyananda and Priyatatva Riddhi Kiran are said to be from Mysuru.

The case made headlines when a resident of Tamil Nadu filed an FIR stating that four of his children, including three daughters, were transferred from Gurukulam Study at Nityananda Dhyanpeetham, Nithyananda Nagara in Bidadi on the outskirts of Bengaluru to “Yogini Sarvagyapeetham” located at Hathijan in Ahmedabad district all of a sudden in September this year.

When the Tamil Nadu resident and his wife went to meet their children at Hathijan, they were not permitted inside the ashram. This led them to approach the police following which they got the custody of two of their minor children. However, their two daughters refused to come back.

Later, following the release of some other children, it was alleged that 15 to 16 children were forced to do child labour.

With anger against the ashram rising, Gujarat Home Minister Home Pradipsinh Jadeja issued a statement on Thursday, saying that “no one will be spared.”

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