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Gujarat HC Directs Police to Trace Sisters Missing from Nithyananda Ashram

Gujarat High Court directed the police to consult Interpol and Ministry of External Affairs to trace the two women, ensure their protection, and assure them their independent choice will be respected by the judiciary.

PTI

Updated:November 26, 2019, 9:10 PM IST
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Gujarat HC Directs Police to Trace Sisters Missing from Nithyananda Ashram
File photo of Swami Nithyananda (Twitter/@vishal185526203)

Ahmedabad: Gujarat High Court on Tuesday, in response to a habeas corpus filed by the father of two women missing from the Ahmedabad ashram of self-styled godman Nithyananda, directed police to use all available mechanism to trace the duo.

A division bench of Justices S R Brahmbhatt and AP Thaker directed the police to consult Interpol and Ministry of External Affairs, as well as other agencies, to trace the two women, ensure their protection from any threat, and assure them their independent will and choice will be respected by the judiciary.

The HC kept December 10 as the next date of hearing. The police on Tuesday told the court they have apprehension Lopamudra Sharma (21) and Nandhitha Sharma (18), daughters of Janardhana Sharma, who filed the habeas corpus, may have escaped abroad.

Janardhan Sharma contended that his daughters were being "illegally confined" by inmates of Nithyananda's ashram. The sisters have occasionally, through a video messaging service using a proxy network, claimed they were fine and did not want to meet their parents.

The court raised apprehension over these videos shared by the duo and said it cannot rely on the videos at this point of time, adding that it cannot be said statements in them were not being made under pressure.

It said no documents or videos directly sent by them will be considered at this point of time and ordered police to produce the sisters before the court.

Sharma has in his habeas corpus alleged authorities of a branch of Nithyananda Dhyanpeetham, named "Yogini Sarvagyapeetham", situated in the premises of Delhi Public School in Ahmedabad, did not let them meet their four daughters enrolled there.

While police managed to rescue two of their minor daughters from Yogini Sarvagyapeetham, Lopamudra and Nandhitha had gone missing.

The petitioner has sought the court's direction to the police and institute authorities to produce the two daughters before the court and hand over their custody to their parents as well as initiate an inquiry against all other minor kids kept at the institute.

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