Nithyananda ashram to be sealed, chief minister wants him arrested

Bangalore: There is more trouble for controversial godman Nithyananda. Following clashes between Kannada activists and Nithyananda’s followers on Friday, the state government has decided to seal his ashram in Bidadi outside Bangalore.

The clashes broke out after recent allegations by a US-based woman that she was sexually abused by Nithyananda for five years, a charge denied by him.

A tape allegedly featuring Nithyananda and an actress had surfaced in 2010 – and the godman had been arrested and released on bail on charges including unnatural sex. Karnataka Chief Minister Sadananda Gowda says the bail should be cancelled and Nithyananda should be arrested.

Earlier, police had registered two cases against the godman and others in connection with an altercation between his followers and a section of media during a press conference at his ashram on June 7.

District in-charge Minister CP Yogeshwar visited the ashram area on Saturday, Superintendent of Police Anupam Agarwal said.

Meanwhile, protests against Nithyananda were held by journalists in several places across the state on Saturday. The protesters demanded action against those involved in the alleged assault of a TV reporter, shouting slogans against Nithyananda.

Similar protests by pro-Kannada organisations were held in Davanagere, Mysore and Bellary.

In Bellary, agitators burnt an effigy of Nithyananda and submitted a memorandum to District Commissioner Amlan Biswas.

Mr Agarwal said police were investigating  and appropriate action would be taken against those found guilty.

He said the whereabouts of Nithyananda were not known.

Facing the heat, Nithyananda in a message to his followers said he was not on the run and was ‘touring places.’

“I heard about the problems caused in the Bidadi ashram by the anti-social elements, but thanks to timely intervention of the Bidadi and Ramangara police, all matters are under control,” he said.

Nithyananda said none can stop them from doing “good spiritual and social work” and all his charitable work, including ‘Annadaanam’ (free meals) would continue.

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