Had to Make Videos at Night: Teen Tortured at Nithyananda’s Ashram

The girl’s father had approached Gujarat High Court, alleging that his daughter had been kept captive in Ahmedabad.

Published
India
2 min read
Self-styled godman Nithyananda.
i

Self-styled godman Nithyananda has been making the rounds of the internet after a number of minors were rescued from a flat in Ahmedabad. The kids have alleged that they were confined, tortured and forced into labour.

In light of the event, one of the teens – the daughter of a Bengaluru resident, Janardhan Sharma – recounted on Friday, 22 November, that she underwent mental torture in Nithyananda's ashram.

The 15-year-old was rescued when her parents got her out of the ashram a month ago with the help of the child welfare committee.

‘Had to Do Promotional Activities for Nithyananda,’ Says Teen

The girl said, according to ANI, “I joined Gurukul in 2013 in May. Earlier, we would take part in fun activities, but since 2017 there has been corruption. We had to do promotional activities for Swami ji and raise donations, not in thousands but in lakhs. Donations would start from Rs 3 lakh up to Rs 8 crore. We had to get donations or land in acres.”

The girl continued, “In the middle of the night, they used to wake us up and make us shoot a video for Swami ji. We had to wear heavy jewellery and makeup. My elder sister has not been able to get out of there. All the videos that she was in, were directly instructed by Swami ji. They also asked her to talk about our father and mother in a bad way. They asked me to do so as well, but I refused.”

She added that the ashram administration locked her up in a room for two months, telling her that it was a spiritual process. People in the ashram also used abusive language, she said.

The girl's father had approached the Gujarat High Court, alleging that his daughter had been kept captive in Ahmedabad. He said, according to ANI, that the case was moving in the right direction. “Two persons have been arrested in the case. I have complained about my girl's kidnapping – but they are engaged in other nefarious activities as well.”

Earlier, on Wednesday, Gujarat police registered an FIR against Nithyananda and held two of his followers, Sadhvi Pran Priyananda and Priyatatva Riddhi Kiran.

(With inputs from ANI)

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