B.S.NAGARAJ writes from Bangalore: Watching the sensational developments in Swami Nithyananda‘s “ashram” over the last couple of days and his “escape” to an undisclosed location, you wouldn’t be wrong in concluding that there is a republic within the republic of India.
And that republic is less than an hour away from Bangalore in a town called Bidadi.
Here the laws of India don’t apply. Just like the Vatican. You and me have to seek an appointment to get inside. Government officials have to wait at the gates before they are escorted in through the various layers of security by Nithyananda’s minions.
Yesterday when a scuffle broke out between Nithyananda’s thugs who call themselves brahmacharis and brahmacharins and a few Kannada activists who went there for a press conference posing as journalists, the police were forced to register a case.
Nithyananda was named accused no.1.
The police go there reluctantly looking for him. A couple of hours later, the DC and SP emerge from inside to say they don’t know where NIthyananda is but add they have advised his associates that it is better for him to return to the ashram only “after the storm dies down.”
So, did they facilitate his escape?
More than 60 hours later, there is still no word on Nithyananda’s whereabouts. But a minister, as well as the DC and SP, are said to have called on him at a resort nearby where he has taken refuge, even while they continuing to say with a straight face that that they are not aware where the self-proclaimed God-incarnate is.
Meanwhile, one news channel carries on with its relentless coverage of the horror that is Nithyananda. Claiming to be victims of his sexual exploitation, people recount the gory details of the abuse to which they were subjected to by Nithyananda and his gang on Suvarna television.
Parents of victimised young men and women weep.
There is a welter of support and sympathy for the victims from viewers, many phoning in from the US, Singapore, Poland, Dubai, etc. Angry protesters burn his effigies across the state, demanding that he be externed to Tamil Nadu, his home state.
The government is unmoved. Chief Minister Sadananda Gowda is busy signing MoUs with investors in Bangalore. Home Minister R.Ashok and Law Minister Suresh Kumar make some feeble noises about taking action.
On the other hand, the government moves in quickly to quell any potential violence during a planned protest march in Bidadi on Sunday by taking custody of many activists this evening.
Curiously, most newspapers and television channels are pretending as if what’s happening in Bidadi isn’t news-worthy. Reportage of Nithyananda-related events, if at all, is cursory. Opposition political parties are no better either in their response.
Other religious heads, save a few, don’t appear to be bothered. One mutt head has the gall to say that Nithyananda, whose devotees list include actors Malavika Avinash and Juhi Chawla, is the target of a conspiracy.
Ditto for pro-Hindutva outfits.
Not a murmur from our rent-a-quote intellectuals either. No Ananthamurthy, no Bhyrappa, no Girish Karnad, no Devanooru, no Rajkumar fans’ association.
The leading lights of the IT industry who have an opinion about everything in the IT capital may think it is none of their business, though many of the sex swami’s victims are sterling techies.
A few weeks back, the Sadananda Gowda government took control of the 15th century Sosale Vyasaraja Mutt in Mysore on the charge that the pontiff was misusing mutt property for personal benefit.
No tears need be shed for Sosale but if the government is sitting ostrich-like over far serious charges against Nithyananda, there is surely room for suspecting its motives.
Victims have told the channel that the swami used to brainwash them into believing that he was God, and that having sex with him would enlighten them. Apart from sexual battery and physical violence, they have charged the “Paramahamsa” of keeping them in the ashram against their wishes, making them part with their money, and much else.