Mar 6, 2014

Vijayan wants ashram funds probed, CM highlights charity

Feb. 23, 2014

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Political leaders joined on Saturday the debate over a controversial book on Mata Amritanandamayi Mutt, with CPM state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan demanding a probe into the flow of foreign funds into various ashrams.

Defending the mutt, chief minister Oommen Chandy said Vijayan was unaware of the ashram's charity works.

Addressing a gathering at Kalpetta in Wayanad, Vijayan said the allegations levelled by a former disciple of Amritananadamayi were serious. He, however, did not press for a probe into the allegations Australian Gail Tredwell aka Gayatri had raised in the book, "Holy Hell: A Memoir of Faith, Devotion and Pure Madness."

Vijayan said he was unaware of the legal aspects of the issue since Tredwel was yet to lodge a complaint. But, he demanded a probe into the flow of foreign funds into various ashrams. He was in Kalpetta as part of his Kerala Rakshya Yatra.

"The government should view the allegations seriously, which were raised by an insider. Ashrams are for those who abjure worldly life. It's to be ascertained if true spiritual environment prevails in ashrams," Vijayan said.

Chandy, who was also in Kalpetta on Saturday, said the charity work by the mutt should be taken into account. "I had the opportunity to associate with the mutt's charity activities, including those undertaken during the tsunami outbreak. Pinarayi Vijayan might not have known about those charity works," he said.

KPCC president V M Sudheeran, meanwhile, sought time to study the issue before making a comment. Home minister Ramesh Chennithala, on Friday, had ruled out registering a case against the mutt based on Tredwell's allegations.

In a related development, the Cheranelloor police in Ernakulam registered a case against a Facebook user, Eldho Kurian R N, for posting anti-mutt comments on his page. The case was registered based on a complaint by Babu Menon, marketing head of Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi.

Meanwhile, the probe by the Karunagappally police against defamatory Facebook posts was yet to make headway.

"We are on the process of tracing the origin of certain defamatory posts. The process continues with the help of cyber cell, but it may take time," said Justin John, sub-inspector of Karunagappally police.