On the run, controversial godman Nithyananda has his 'own country' now

Topics rape case

The Bidadi ashram of self-styled godman Swami Nithyananda, who is facing charges of illegal confinement of children and has been charge-sheeted in a rape case, is almost empty and the key people who handled the daily affairs are missing.

It was at this ashram that the controversial godman's first scandal broke out in 2010. A video of him in a compromising position with an actress went viral and he went into hibernation for almost eight years.

He resurfaced a year ago in a new avatar. Dressed in a maroon attire and tiger pelt, he sported a moustache, a beard and matted locks. He carried a trident and wore beaded necklaces.

Last month, an FIR was registered against Nithyananda after two girls went missing from his ashram in Ahmedabad, Yogini Sarvagyapeetham. He was charged with kidnapping and wrongful confinement of children to make them collect donations from followers to run his ashram.

While police continue to look for him, reports have emerged that he has created a Hindu nation, Kailaasa, with its own flag and political setup, on an island near Ecuador.

According to the website of Kailaasa (www.kailaasa.org), it is "a nation without borders created by dispossessed Hindus from around the world who lost the right to practice Hinduism authentically in their own countries".

"Kailaasa was created with the determination to not just preserve and protect Sanatana Hindu Dharma and share it with the entire world, but also to share the story of persecution that is yet unknown to the world," it said.

The country has its own triangular flag with an emblem of Paramashiva and Nandi and is called the 'Rishabha Dhvaja'. English, Sanskrit and Tamil are its main languages.

The government of the new country has various departments like homeland security, defence, treasury, commerce, housing, human services and education.

Meanwhile, police remain clueless about Nithyananda's whereabouts.

"So far what we know is that he is not in the ashram here for almost a year," a police officer said.

Bidadi is no more Nithyananda's headquarters, he said.

"This is one of the 10 to 15 ashrams he has nationwide. His main areas of operation are Tamil Nadu and Gujarat," he added.

The self-styled godman rose into prominence by making wild claims about his spiritual powers. He was back in the limelight after he was booked in the criminal case in connection with his Ahmedabad ashram.

Reportedly, a team of Gujarat police searched the Bidadi ashram last week to trace him.

However, the local police have no idea about it.

"We don't know whether they came. We would have learnt about the Gujarat police team coming here had they approached us," the officer said.

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