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Godman at centre of mutt politics

india Updated: May 03, 2012 01:43 IST
HT Correspondent

Self-styled godman Nityananda, who was recently appointed as head of the Madurai Adheenam, an ancient Shaivite mutt, has threatened to take legal action against other Shaivite mutts that have passed a resolution urging his removal.

Addressing media persons in Madurai, around 450 km from Chennai, on Wednesday, Nityananda said, “These mutts have no legitimacy to question the decision of the Aadheenam. I will take legal action against all the 10 mutts if they do not withdraw the resolution by Monday.”

At least 10 prominent Shaivite mutts in Madurai have protested the appointment of the controversial godman, who was embroiled in a sex scandal two years ago, as the 293rd pontiff of the one of the most ancient and richest Shaivite mutts. http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2012/5/03_05_12-metro11b.jpg

Nityananda had made headlines in 2010 when a Tamil news channel aired clips showing him in a compromising position with a Tamil actress. He also faced serious allegations from women devotees of his ashram in Bangalore.

He was subsequently arrested and later let off on bail. He is presently battling a host of criminal cases in courts. Nityananda, however, maintained the cases were false and fabricated to defame him.

Many Hindu organisations have raised questions about the decision of current Madurai Aadheenam chief, Arunagirinatha Desikar Paramacharya Swamigal, to appoint a person who has several cases pending against him.

Swamigal has, however, maintained that Nityananda had all the qualities to head the mutt and it was not necessary to consult other mutts on the matter. Hindu Makkal Katchi, a political party, said it would mobilise all mutt heads and agitate for the removal of Nityananda.

“This prestigious post is not for someone with Nityananda’s reputation. Practice of celibacy (brahmacharya) is the main condition that one has to fulfill to become the head of the mutt,” said Hindu Makkal Katchi president Arjun Sampath.

The party has moved high court seeking that the state government take control of the Aadheenam.