Interpol has issued a ‘blue notice’ against self-styled godman Nithyananda, who fled India last year after being accused of kidnapping and wrongful confinement of children to make them collect donations from followers to run his ashram in Ahmedabad.
The Interpol notice has been issued on the request of Gujarat Police which has been trying to catch the self-styled godman wanted in alleged rape and abduction cases.
A blue notice is issued to locate an individual who is missing or is an identified or unidentified criminal or is wanted for a violation of ordinary criminal law.
A Blue Corner notice makes it mandatory for member countries to share whereabouts of a person involved in a crime.
Nithyananda had allegedly fled India without a passport to save himself from a rape case registered against him in Karnataka.
The Ministry of External Affairs had last year cancelled Nithyananda’s passport, and also “sensitised” all its foreign missions and posts to keep track of his movements.
The MEA said Nithyananda had a passport issued in 2008 with a 10-year validity but it was cancelled before 2018. Nithyananda had applied for a fresh passport but was denied police clearance.
Recently, the Ecuador government had denied that it has granted asylum to the self-styled godman or helped him purchase any land in the South American country.
The Ecuador government statement came as the Indian Ministry of External Affairs said that it has cancelled Nithyananda’s passport, and has also “sensitised” all its foreign missions and posts to keep track of his movements.
The Embassy of Ecuador, in a statement, said they had denied Nithyananda’s request for asylum, and he left the country for Haiti.
It also urged digital or print media houses to “refrain from citing Ecuador in any form in all pieces of information related to Nithyananda”.
The statement came days after Nithyananda announced the creation of Kailaasa, a “Hindu homeland”, on an island allegedly purchased by one of his followers from Ecuador.
Nithyananda’s real name is Rajashekharan and he is a native of Tamil Nadu. He opened an ashram near Bengaluru in the early 2000s. His teachings were said to be based on those of Osho Rajneesh.
In 2010 a video of him in a compromising position with an actress emerged online and he was later arrested on charges of rape. He was also arrested and charge-sheeted in a separate case of rape later.
According to reports, Nithyananda is now being investigated by French authorities for alleged fraud worth $4,00,000.
In November 2019, an FIR was registered against Nithyananda after two girls went missing from his ashram in Ahmedabad – Yogini Sarvagyapeetham. He was charged with kidnapping and wrongful confinement of children to make them collect donations from followers to run his ashram.
The self-styled godman has found himself embroiled in controversy many times as he has been accused of committing “serious human atrocities in the name of Hinduism” by a former yogi at his ashram. In a petition on Change.org and on YouTube, the former yogi turned ‘whistleblower’ describes how Nithyananda would torture the ashram’s inmates, in particular children.