Even as lyricist and poet Vairamuthu alleges that his words have been twisted in regard to the Andal controversy, more abuse has come his way over the last two days. This time however the source of malice is shocking - children who are part of the ‘Swami’ Nithyananda Ashram.
In multiple videos, doing the rounds on social media, girls and boys are seen using expletives, many sexual in nature, as they question the lyricist's comments on Andal, an Alvar saint. This has generated anger amongst the general public, which has found the use of children in such a manner objectionable. Following this, prominent activist Piyush Manush has written a complaint to the Karnataka police demanding that action be taken under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO). Nityananda’s main ashram is situated at Bidadi in Ramanagara district of Karnataka.
In a 19 minute video, a teenage girl dressed in saffron says, "I got up and finished puja. So I decided to specially add something on Vairamuthu. A crowd here is waiting to abuse you (Vairamuthu)."
The crowd that she refers to is in fact younger girls who are looking into the camera eagerly. When the teenager pans the phone to show these minors, they begin shouting expletives at the phone.
The teenager then comes back on frame to say, "He (Vairamuthu) has 10,000 mistresses. There are people who don't even have one. I am asking you, you are making 16 year old girls talk like this..."
The minor that she refers to then says, "We should hit their (Vairamuthu's) women in the middle of the road to teach them a lesson."
In another video posted in the second week of January, she introduces herself as the ‘princess’ of Nithyananda ashram and says that she is a 16-year-old.
A video compilation of abuses from his followers, shows two young boys using explicit language which is sexual in nature. Someone facing them seems to be further prompting them through the tirade. The young boys say "What if we talk this way about your mother?" before going on to use objectionable language.
Other videos show older disciples taking turns to abuse the lyricist. In his complaint to the Director General of Police (Karnataka) Piyush says, " I am writing this with deep distress after watching a few videos being circulated in the social media widely featuring children and others housed and schooled in Swami Nithyananda ashram, Bidadi, Karnataka. I am attaching a FB link for your good offices to purview the link and examine for yourself the sexually explicit content in which children have put to use to perform in acts that they in their age will never be able to comprehend the effects thereof. Even if it is claimed that it is a willful act of the children the said institution needs to be taken to task as custodians of the young minds."
He has demanded that a case be filed against the ashram and Nithyananda. In addition to this, he has asked the police to also consider the Misuse of Religious institution Act.
"In the publicly circulated material they have attacked individuals and their families, misused their permissions of conducting educational activity, violated laws pertaining to disturbing peace and tranquility amongst communities as they have been asking and inducing people to act against Muslims and Christians etc.. Above all the acts that children have been filmed to be engaged in makes it makes a clear case for the institution of Swami Nithyananda," says the complaint.
An expert TNM spoke to said that making children do such videos is liable for prosecution under Section 23 of The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000.
What is also disturbing are the comments posted by people under these videos uploaded on Facebook, YouTube etc. Many have posted sexually loaded comments targeting these minors. In another video, the 16-year-old Nithayananda disciple points out that the reactions to her video can be considered as child sexual abuse.
When TNM contacted BJP sources over their views on this malicious campaign against Vairamuthu, a leader on the condition of anonymity says, "They are lowering the impact of our campaign. The overwhelming majority of people from the BJP are critical about what the Nityananda disciples are doing. They represent the extreme Hindu fringe groups and bring a bad name to Hinduism. There are so many videos and the intention seems to be to gain some mileage. It is unfortunate and reflects badly on the religion."
Another BJP leader further says, "We don't want anything to do with them and have always kept our distance."
BJP leaders however agree that Nithyananda could be trying to gain some political capital by trying to side with the BJP and other Hindu groups against Vairamuthu.
Prominent writers, actors and several others have, however, openly condemned the activities of the Ashram.
In a tweet on Sunday, actor Prasanna said, "Honestly the ones degrading the Hindu religion are the followers of Nithyananda. This is a group that must be destroyed. Sudikodutha sudarkodi (Andal) must burn these people."
உண்மையில் இந்து மதத்தை கொச்சைப்படுத்த அசிங்கப்படுத்த கிளம்பியிருப்பது நித்யானந்தா கூட்டம்தான். அழித்தொழிக்கப்படவேண்டிய இந்து எதிரி இக்கூட்டமே! சூடிக்கொடுத்த சுடர்க்கொடியே இவ்வர்ப்ப பதர்களை சுட்டெரித்துவிடு— Prasanna (@Prasanna_actor) January 21, 2018