Mar 6, 2014

Amma denies charges, Chandy backs her but Pinarayi seeks probe

Shaju Philip
Indian Express
February 23, 2014

As the CPI(M) and Congress joined the debate over the allegations raised against her ashram by a former aide, spiritual leader Mata Amritanandamayi on Saturday said attempts were on to foment trouble after unleashing communal sentiments.
Amritanandamayi told a spiritual session in Palakkad that her ashram was an open book and there was no lapse on its part. “Some people are saying certain things against the ashram when their plans did not materialise. I am trying to forget and forgive these issues. I don’t ask anyone to serve me. Instead, I am serving others,’’ she said.
Gail Tredwell alias Gayatri, who was Amma’s attendant for two decades since early 1980s, in her recently published Holy Hell — A Memoir of Faith, Devotion and Pure Madness, alleged sexual exploitation and promiscuity involving senior ashram members. The contents of the book had gone viral on social media, but prominent dailies in Kerala remained silent on the issue. Three Amma devotees filed a police compliant in Kollam district against “offensive content” on the social media. DYFI national president M B Rajesh, meanwhile, said it was not right of the police to register a case against those who reacted on the allegations.
On Saturday, CPM state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan said the allegations against the ashram were serious. “That the revelations were made by an insider of the ashram for many years shows the gravity of the issue. The writer’s personal experiences show that wrongful things were happening at the ashram,’’ he said the government must probe the large amounts of money reaching the ashrams and see whether anti-national activities were taking place in such spiritual centres.
While Congress state president V M Sudheeran made a cautious reaction saying he wanted to study the issue, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said one should not forget the great services of the ashram. “I had participated in the social services of the ashram. Vijayan should have considered it,’’ said Chandy.