Mahant Ma Nithya Atmadayananda, or Atmadayananda, a representative of Nityananda’s organisation – Kailasa UK – was invited to the event by Tory MP Bob Blackman and Lord Rami Ranger, a report from The Guardian said.
The event was organised by the Hindu Forum of Britain in the House of Lords’ Cholmondeley Room and saw the distribution of a commemorative brochure to attendees, which included a full page advertisement promoting Kailasa United Kingdom.
Who Is 'Swami' Nithyananda?
Parents have accused him of brainwashing their children, while the children who visited his ashram alleged that they were confined, tortured, and forced into labour.
In 2010, a US citizen and disciple of Nithyananda accused him of raping her in India and the US repeatedly over the course of five years. Moreover, he is also wanted by the police in Gujarat and Karnataka for kidnapping children and keeping them captive in his Ahmedabad ashram to collect donations from their parents.
But the evasive “Supreme Pontiff of Hinduism” has avoided convictions and trials for years now. While some claim that he left for Ecuador and then Haiti after fleeing India in 2019, others say that he resides in his own "country" – Kailasa.
A legal representative of Nithyananda in the UK, as reported by The Telegraph, denied all the allegations against the self-proclaimed spiritual leader and added that the "persecution against him was a result of hinduphobia on the part of conservative and fundamentalist figures in India.”
They also added that Nithyananda has arrived out a sizable chunk of charity, founding “many temples, schools, and monasteries.”
Nithyananda’s popularity in India doesn’t seem to be deterred from the outstanding list of charges against him. His Facebook page alone boasts over 1.1 million followers.
Moreover, both him and his followers use their massive social media presence to make several extravagant claims about his supernatural abilities, which includes the ability to delay sunrise, see through walls, make cows talk, and cure children of blindness.
Connecting the Dots: Atmadayananda and Two Conservative MPs
Nithyananda's representative was invited to the United Kingdom parliament by two Conservative MPs and the Hindu Forum of Britain.
There’s not much on who Atmadayananda really is. A report by the Observer said that she is a representative of Nithyananda’s Kailasa UK.
Kailasa UK, also known as Nithyananda Meditation Academy UK, is a registered charity created as a part of the cult leader’s self styled vision of a “Global Hindu community.”
The invite to Atmadayananda was extended by two individuals – Bob Blackman, a Conservative MP for Harrow East and chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for British Hindus and Lord Rami Ranger, chairman of the British Sikh Association.
A press release from the Hindu Forum of Britain described her as one of many “spiritual heads of various Hindu sects.”
Following the event, Kailasa UK tweeted:
“By the grace of SPH Sri Nithyananda, Kailasa UK joined & celebrated Diwali with [HFB] at the House of Lords today. Thank you Truptiben Patel, Velji Bhai, Pravin Bhai, Harsha Shukla, Lord Rami Ranger, Lord Navnit Dholakia, Rt. Hon Bob Blackman & the team for this auspicious invite!”
At the event, Nithya Atmadayananda was photographed with several dignitaries, including Blackman.
Blackman has a record of Islamophobia, popularly known for retweeting anti-muslim social media posts (attach screenshots of tweets) and sharing a platform with far-right commentator Katie Hopkins, a report by Wired said.
Moreover in 2018, he hosted Hindu nationalist Tapan Ghosh, a former Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) Pracharak and founder of Hindu Samhati, who was famously arrested for the alleged "ghar wapsi" of a Muslim family, forcefully converted to Hinduism. Ghosh had also called on the UN to “control the Muslim birth rate world over.”
The Quint has reached out to Bob Blackman and Lord Rami Ranger but is yet to hear from either of them.
Meanwhile, Lord Ranger told The Guardian that he had no knowledge of Nithyananda or his organisation, when asked about Atmadayananda’s attendance at the event.
“I do not know Kailasa or this person…If I had known I would never have attended an event where such unsavoury characters were being promoted,” he told The Guardian.
Revelations From the E-Magazine
On the occasion of Diwali, the Hindu Forum of Britain released an e-magazine, which comprised of pictures from HFB events, advertisements that speak volumes and messages from the top brass of the UK government.
As we mentioned before, the HFB’s glossy 50-page e-magazine took out a full-page advertisement for Kailasa UK with an image of Nithyananda within it.
The President of the Hindu Forum of Britain, Trupti Patel, defended the group’s call to publish an advertisement of the controversial organisation.
“As far as advertisement is concerned, any validly registered organisation can support the Diwali event by putting an advert into the brochure, it promotes positivity and there was no reason not to accept the advert,” she told The Telegraph.
The page right beside the advert showed photos of members of the HFB, which acts as an umbrella group for over 300 organisations, alongside Labour Party leader Keir Starmer and other high ranking dignitaries.
The brochure itself has messages of support from the likes of British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, which stated, “ Each year, the Hindu Forum of Britain goes above and beyond to host this fantastic Diwali celebration and I would like to express my gratitude to Trupti and all the organisers. I am sorry that I could not join you today but trust that you will enjoy the celebrations.”
But Sunak is not the only one. The e-magazine also contained messages of support from former Home Secretary Priti Patel, and current Home Secretary Suella Braverman!
The Quint has reached out to 10 Downing Street and the office of Priti Patel asking if they had prior knowledge of Atmadayananda's presence and is awaiting a reply.
Connecting the Dots: The Hindu Forum of Britain and Nityananda
This is not the first time that the Hindu Forum of Britain or a member of the group has been associated to Nithyananda or Kailasa. Trupti Patel was previously awarded the "KAILASA Dharma Jyoti Religion and Worship Award” for “exceptional and distinguished service.”
Patel and the Hindu Forum of Britain stood by their invitation to the rape-accused godman’s representative. She said:
“We do not discriminate; each entity has their own following. Social media/internet hype and unsubstantiated allegations against UK-registered charities cannot stop any two organisations working together.”
Poonam Joshi, a freelance journalist who has investigatived the Nithyananda's organisation and also attended the event, told the Observer
“It is shocking to see the Hindu Forum of Britain found it appropriate to invite representatives of a man accused of such heinous crimes to parliament.”
“It lends legitimacy to an organisation that craves it because of the actions of the fake ‘godman’ at its helm, who remains a fugitive from Indian justice,” she added.