26 Dec 2014

Raj TV programme in Tamil on Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust on 23 December, 2014


Summary in English of Koppium Raj TV programme on Sri Aurobindo Ashram on 23 December, 2014:

The compère says that when a girl or lady walks free at night without facing trouble, it is a sign of good life. Till now however this is not in place. Despite the advance of modern civilization, this continues to be a problem as girls become targets of sexual assault.

The video mentions that due to sex related complaints, there is decadence in  Aurobindo Ashram. Whoever questions the wrongdoings there is made a victim and asked to go out of its fold. This is a pathetic situation.

While people go to Ashrams for peace and spirituality, Pondicherry Ashram seems embroiled in sexual harassment – a case in point is the Bihar sisters who are the victims. All of them belong to the same family which came nearly thirty years back to stay in the Ashram for peace. But since they complained against the executives of the Ashram, and since no action was taken but instead action was initiated against the complainants, they became frustrated. These people from north India had given everything to the Ashram and had been staying in Ashram quarters. They had complained that they were being sexually harassed. The Ashram Trust complained to the police against the sisters; the matter went to Madras High Court and the sisters without slackening went to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court asked the sisters to vacate the Ashram quarters in six months, which was over by 15 December, 2014. As if they had waited only for this, the Ashram management forced the sisters out.  

One of the sisters weeps and tells that they received in Pondicherry the notice of the Supreme Court at 4 pm on 8th December, requiring them to appear in the Supreme Court on 9th December at 10 am. She sobs and says as to how it is possible for them to go to Delhi since even travelling to Madras takes 5 hours! How could they be present in the Supreme Court at Delhi the next morning?

The sisters refused to vacate Ashram accommodation since they had  nowhere else to go. They also stated that, if forced, their only alternative was to sacrifice their lives by suicide. Hemlata, one of the sisters who climbed on to the terrace of a building in a bid to commit suicide, says that the Ashram management should give them food, shelter and medical facilities as hitherto, since they had no other go. She also says the Ashram Trustees should stop their illegal activities.

Police brought her down and apparently counseled the sisters that obeying court orders was essential and that they have to get out of Ashram premises; otherwise penal action may be taken against them. Thereupon the sisters went to their parents, and all of them went to the sea the next morning to commit suicide.

The fishermen saw the group and tried to rescue them and were able to save four of them while two sisters and their mother vanished and could not be located. The fisherman alerted the Police who arranged for the treatment of the survivors at the Govt. hospital. Then the three dead bodies got washed ashore. Hemlata also mentioned that she was molested by four people on the seashore

Mr. Sugumaran, Human Rights Activist, recounts the sordid event. Worried by complaints of sexual assaults on women and the illegal activities of the Trust, the public and politicians are angry about the events. It would be therefore proper for the Puducherry Govt. to appoint an IAS officer for administering the activities of the Ashram and a retired High Court Judge be appointed to look into the various charges leveled against the Trust. 

A lady leading the agitation by women says that when ladies from North India have come and settled here, where would they go if they are suddenly thrown out? The Ashram should have provided and arranged alternate arrangements for the sisters.

Lady students in large number are seen agitating and demand that a CBI enquiry should be ordered. There is a need to stop the nefarious activities of so-called spiritual outfits and institutions.

Mr. Nehru, an NR Congress leader, expresses his opinion and says that the wealth of Puducherry is being misutilised and that the Govt. should put a seal on the activities of the Ashram Trust. Mr. Anbalagan, an AIADMK MLA says the Ashram Trust is misusing its properties. The Union Govt. (Ministry of Home Affairs) should initiate necessary action to set things right. Mr. Narayanaswami of the Congress [former MP of Puducherry] says that the status will be presented by him and taken up with the Ministry of Home Affairs for remedial action.

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