14 Jul 2013

Bring Aurobindo Ashram Under RTI Act, Demands AINRC MLA

 New Sunday Express, Chennai 14 July 2013

Citing several complaints of alleged misdeeds in Sri Aurobindo Ashram, ruling AINRC MLA Ashok Anand has petitioned the Lieutnant Governor Virendra Kataria urging him to take action to bring the ashram under the purview of the Right to Information Act.

In a memorandum to the Lieutnant Governor on Saturday, Anand said that since Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust is a charitable organisation receiving huge donations from devotees, the trust and all its operations should be brought under the RTI Act.

Further, he sought to bring the ashram under the control of an IAS officer in a similar way like the Auroville Foundation through a legislation. There are around 1500 inmates in the ashram who would feel secure if there is an IAS officer whom they could approach with their grievances, he added.

The ashram has been a beacon for spiritual seekers from all over the world, but there have been charges against the trustees of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, he claimed. The issue has been raised in the Territorial Assembly also.

Based on the complaints by a section of ashram inmates, the government had instituted a probe in September 2012 under the District Collector.

A team of senior officials took oral depositions of the women inmates. However, the ashram moved the Madras High court against the government and obtained an ex-parte stay on the government probe in October 2012.

Anand alleged that the trustees are destroying evidence on the allegations made. If the trustees had nothing to hide and the allegations were baseless, they would have cooperated with the probe, he added.

The MLA said that he would meet leaders of all political parties for bringing in transparency in the functioning of ashram.

[Yesterday, on 13 July, 2013, posters in Tamil on the corrupt practices of the Ashram Trustees had been pasted all over Puducherry. Below are photographs of some of these posters in various parts of the town.]

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