Self-styled Godman Nithyananda Paramashivam has found himself embroiled in controversy as he has been accused of committing “serious human atrocities in the name of Hinduism” by a former yogi at his ashram. In a petition on Change.org and on YouTube, the former yogi and now ‘whistleblower’ describes how Nithyananda would torture the ashram’s inmates, in particular children.
The petition, which has garnered over a thousand signatures already, talks about how the ashram would exploit children and loot its overseas clients.
"“He has swindled us of our life savings to make millions of dollars and it is believed he has bought a Caribbean Island for his pleasure, off the east coast of Florida, USA. In his ashram in Bidadi (near Bangalore), he locks up little children as young as 10 years old in dark rooms, without food and water for days together and tortures them under the guise of Gurukul training.”" - Nara Simha in his Change.org petition
Whistleblower Apologises to Dhanya Rajendran For ‘Maligning’ Her Image
Dhanya Rajendran, the Editor-in-Chief of The News Minute, a news website further received an apology email from one of the whistleblowers. The Nithyananda camp had allegedly started an online smear campaign against Rajendran which ran for years.
Rajendran had been following stories about rape allegations against the Godman for several years.
"“For years, his followers have targeted me, made videos and memes on me and spammed my Twitter TL too. This woman has now become a whistleblower. The accusations she has made against Nityananda are serious, but I seriously doubt anything will happen unless a few reported victims come out and speak. However, as a journalist, I was happy to receive this mail. I felt emotional too. Too many times these people have targeted me in the last decade or so for the stories I have done on this man. It was good to know that at least a few of them were finally moving away from the cult.”" - Rajendran on Facebook
Here’s what the apology email said:
"“First, my apology to you. You’re a brave, strong and honest woman, and Nithyananda had told all of us in his cult that you were a demon, and that you had to be destroyed, and to attack you on Twitter and call you a “presstitute.” I regret more than anything the stupid things I said against the innocent rape victim, her friends, and you, back in that brainwashed time.”" - Apology email to Dhanya RajendranWho is Nithyananda?
According to Nithyananda’s Facebook page, he is the “reviver of Kailaasa – the enlightened civilisation, the greatest and only Hindu nation”. He considers himself an Avatar of Paramashiva.
The 44-year-old has been accused of raping a disciple for five years of her stay in his ashram. In June 2018, a Karnataka trial court framed charges against Nithyananda. He faces trial under Sections 376 (rape), 377 (unnatural sex), 420 (cheating), 114 (criminal abetment), 201 (disappearance of evidence, giving false information), 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
According to The News Minute, in 2014, the Supreme Court dismissed a petition by Nithyananda seeking to quash the chargesheet against him. But in 2017, in a relief for the survivor, the apex court asked Ramanagara sessions court in Karnataka to frame charges against him and conduct a speedy trial.
However, in March 2018, Nithyananda changed his stance on his impotence at the Karnataka High Court, claiming to have had “consensual sex” with the victim – a big U-turn from before.
Nithyananda made headlines once again when multiple regional channels broadcasted a clip of the Godman in a compromising position with an actor.
The Quint has reached out to Nithyananda and his office seeking a response to the fresh set of allegations against him, but hasn’t received a response as yet. We will update this story as and when we get a reply.
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