Bangalore: Will the ashram of controversial Hindu religious guru Nityananada Swami be sealed on Tuesday? This has emerged as a million dollar question after Karnataka Chief Minister DV Sadananda Gowda ordered his arrest and closure of his ashram in the wake of a state-wide demand.

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Late on Monday evening, the over-crowded ashram wore a deserted look after the media reported orders of closure of the ashram and arrest of the self-styled godman.   Amid heavy police bandobast at the ashram, a number of devotees were seen vacating it from the back gate with police personnel posted their subjecting them to a thorough check.

Controversial self-styled godman Nityananda on Monday faced a search warrant for his arrest after the Karnataka government bearing the heat of public outrage decided to act against him over his activities including alleged sexual exploitation of his disciples.
Nityananda, already facing criminal cases including rape on complaints from some former disciples last year, is reportedly absconding from his ashram at Bidadi in Ramanagara district near Bangalore.

With several protests on and calls for action against Nityananda after a former US-based woman disciple narrated story of her alleged sexual abuse on a Kannada TV channel, Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda on Monday held a high-level meeting with top police officials and said he would be arrested in two days.
The meeting attended by DGP Lalrokhuma Pachau and other senior officials, also discussed the clash that took place between the media and his followers at his ashram last week, that has added to his troubles.
Gowda said he has asked the Deputy Commissioner and the Superintendent of Police to secure custody of Nityananda's Dhyanapeetham premises and collect evidence about its activities and seal the ashram.
The government would hold discussions with the law department to seek cancellation of bail granted by the Karnataka High Court to the self-styled godman in connection with a case of rape and criminal intimidation.

Nityananda is facing criminal charges, including rape, after a slew of complaints were filed against him in 2010 after some local TV channels telecast purported videos of the self-styled godman in a compromising position with an actress.

Nityananda, was arrested and later released on bail.

On June 8, police had lodged criminal cases against Nityananda and his followers for allegedly assaulting a mediaperson during a press conference at his ashram on complaints from a regional TV channel reporter and activists of local group Nava Nirmana Sene in connection with an altercation at the ashram the previous night.
On a counter complaint by two followers of Nityananda, police also registered two FIRs against the reporter and Sene activists for alleged outrage of modesty, physical assault and threat to life.

Armed with the directions of the Chief Minister to take custody of the ashram, the district administration is already gearing up to take inventory of articles at the Dhynapeetham spread over 22 acres of land.
"The district administration will have to take an inventory of all the things at the ashram and along with the police team and collect evidences pertaining to the alleged illegal activities. It is going to take some time, may be three to four days," a police source said.

Meanwhile, the Madurai bench of Madras High Court ordered issue of notice to officials including DGP on a plea seeking to take action against Nityananda, who was appointed head of an ancient Saivite Mutt at Madurai in April, for organizing "nauseating religious programmes" on the pretext of conducting religious rituals in the mutt premises.
Justice A Selvam admitting the plea filed by Solaikannan of the Hindu People Party posted the case for further hearing on June 22.
The petitioner alleged that 30-odd devotees, including foreigners, were given "some water described as holy", at the 1500-year-old Madurai Adheenam's (mutt) villa and soon many started to behave like people in trance.
He alleged that police had not acted on his complaint and hence the court should give a direction to register a case and take action against Nityananda.


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