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Nityananda's ashram to be kept 'under lock'

The Karnataka government Monday ordered the locking up of  the ashram near here of controversial Hindu religious guru Nityananda Swami following fresh allegations of sexual exploitation of women against him.

'I have ordered that the ashram be kept under lock,' Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda told reporters. The move came in the wake of increasing demand for its closure.

Gowda said legal steps would be taken to get the bail of Nityananda cancelled, to arrest him if necessary.

Nityananda, who is already facing rape charges, has been on bail since June 2010 after he was arrested from Solan in Himachal Pradesh. He went into hiding in Solan for about a month in March-April 2010 after a Tamil TV channel aired a video purportedly showing him indulging in sexual acts.

After being picked by Karnataka Police he was in a Bangalore for seven weeks. The whereabouts of 32-year-old Nityananda are not known since last Friday. He has been out of the ashram spread over a 29-acre plot in Bidadi, about 35 km from here.

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, the Janata Dal-Secular as well as several Kannada groups have been for the last three days demanding immediate closure of the ashram and action against Nityananda.

The ashram saw fracas between media personnel and disciples of Nityananda last Thursday and Friday. On Thursday, Nityananda asked a reporter to go out for asking inconvenient questions, leading to protests. The next day, the press meet called by his disciples also ended in chaos.

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.
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