Bangalore: The Karnataka government Monday ordered arrest of controversial Hindu religious guru Nityananada Swami and sealing of his ashram complex near here following allegations of sexual exploitation of women.
The order was issued by Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda in the wake of a state-wide demand for his arrest and closure of the ashram in Bidadi, 35 km from Bangalore. Nityananda would be arrested in two days, Gowda told reporters.
The whereabouts of Nityananda are not known as he is believed to have left this ashram late last Thursday after a stormy press meet. Gowda said he had ordered a search of the ashram and for a probe into charges by several women that they were sexually exploited by Nityananda. Steps are also being taken to get the bail of Nityananda in a rape case cancelled, the chief minister said.
Nityananda has been on bail since June 2010 after he was arrested from Solan in Himachal Pradesh. He had gone into hiding in Solan for about a month in March-April 2010 after a Tamil TV channel aired a video showing him indulging in sexual acts.
After being picked up by Karnataka Police, he was in a Bangalore jail for seven weeks. The latest trouble for the controversial religious leader began after a Kannada TV channel started telecasting complaints by several women that they were sexually exploited by him.
The Congress and Janata Dal-Secular as well as several Kannada groups have been demanding the immediate closure of the ashram and action against Nityananda.
The ashram saw a fracas between media personnel and disciples of Nityananda last Thursday and Friday. On Thursday, Nityananda ordered a reporter out for asking inconvenient questions, which led to protests. The next day, a press meet called by his disciples also ended in chaos.