Self styled godman Nithyananda , who is embroiled in several controversies and facing criminal charges including rape, was on Friday removed as the successor of the mutt head of Madurai Aadheenam, a 1500- year-old Saivite mutt.
The appointment of the self-styled godman hailing from Karnataka one and half years ago as the successor of the Madurai Aadheenam head Arunagirinatha Desikar was widely condemned by Hindu religious bodies and even the government.
A terse announcement removing Nithyananda from the Aadheenam was made by Desikar in a brief interaction with the media in the temple town of Madurai.
The sacking of Nithyananda came a day after the government’s Hindu religious and charitable endowment department moved a local court in Madurai seeking the removal of Desikar himself for making the appointment that it alleged violated the traditions of the possibly oldest Saivite mutt in the country.
When asked why the person whom he had appointed was removed, Desikar said “you know better.”
He also told media persons that fearing for his life, he had sought police protection as he faced threats from Nittyananda’s disciples.
The appointment of Nithyananda as the successor to the Madurai Mutt head Desikar had shocked the people and the leaders of religious bodies that condemned the development and questioned as to how a man facing serious criminal charges, including rape could even be considered for holding such a high position in a prestigious and respected religious body.
In a related development, the Madras high court on Friday reserved its orders on a bunch of petitions praying for Nithyananda’s removal.