People attacked the hermitage of self-styled godman ithyananda Swami and burnt his property near Bangalore on Wednesday following allegations of deviant sexual behaviour.
A Tamil TV channel showed intimate pictures of a person, supposedly Nithyananda Swami, with a woman. His disciples, however, said the images were “morphed”, that is, fabricated.
Minor protests were reported from other parts of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu as people came out on the streets tearing down posters of the godman, who is 32,
Hermitage manager Sevananda said in a press release: “We feel that there is mix of conspiracy, graphics and rumour... We are working on a legal course of action.”
Sevananda complained to the police that he was receiving threatening calls.
As the television channels beamed the scenes, people gathered at the Nithyananda Dhyanapeetham in Bidadi, 45 km from Bangalore. They demanded the swami’s arrest and closure of various units of the hermitage.
Protesters set fire to the place but the flame was immediate doused. No injuries were reported.
Security had been beefed up at the swami’s other ashrams in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, the police said.
According to reports from Tamil Nadu, people approached the police at several places seeking action against the swami.
Groups burnt his effigies in Kumbakonam, 273 km south of Chennai and his posters were torn down in his hometown, Tiruvannamalai, in north Tamil Nadu. In Coimbatore, groups staged protests. About 25 persons were taken into custody for trying to burn his effigy.
The swami has two ashrams in the US. He also has a YouTube channel – Life Bliss Network – showing his clips on tips to ‘awaken the cosmic energy within’.