It seems to be trouble season for the ‘swami’s’ in Kerala. Many conmen in Kerala are under investigation after a petition filed by the Kerala Atheist Association.
First it was self-styled godman Swami Amrithachaithanya alias Santhosh Madhavan’s turn to land in police custody. He was arrested last week for allegedly raping under-age girls and found to be keeping a tiger pelt, drugs and pornographic videos in his ashram. Then even before the news lost its spice one Himaval Maheswara Bhadrananda alias ‘Ernakulam Swami’ created a flutter at the Aluva Police Station last Saturday.
Actually Bhadrananda had surrendered to the police on Friday after he was charged with barging into a newspaper office in
But what hit the headlines of the dailies was when he attempted to shoot himself with his licensed pistol but escaped with minor injuries after police snatched the weapon from him in time.Television footage showed two shots being fired from Bhadrananda’s pistol as police grappled with him to snatch the pistol in front of a large media contingent gathered at the Aluva police station.
The media gathered there as the ‘swami’ earlier phoned a TV journalist and told her that he was going to shoot himself at his residence following which police were tipped-off. When the police tried to overpower him, the gun went off, injuring Bhadrananda and a reporter of Madhyamam.
Saturday’s sequence of events began at at his house when he reportedly telephoned a reporter of a television news channel and threatened to kill himself as the media had tarnished his image by publishing adverse reports and comparing him with Santhosh Madhavan.
Bhadrananda was also agitated as he had been asked by his landlord to vacate the rented house in Aluva where he was staying with his mother. The reporter informed the police who arrived at his house and tried to persuade him to hand over the pistol. When he refused, he was taken to the CI office. It was there that Bhadrananda advanced towards them and suddenly his pistol went off, firing two shots.
And hours after this incident took place yet another self-styled godman has landed in trouble with the law in Kerala with a court in Idukki district issuing a warrant against a film-producer-turned ‘Swami’ in a cheque bounce case. It is learned that the new incarnation of Viswachaithanya is an escape from the film director Sunil who had directed many prominent Malayalam films. He disappeared after issuing false cheques to producers.
The producers who were cheated by him found him as a swamin named Swami Viswachainya, in
The arrest warrant issued by the Court earlier could not be served on Sunil, who by then had turned into a self-styled godman and started an ashram at Karanthur near here.After the warrant was returned, the Court had now issued a fresh conviction warrant asking police to produce him in court on May 31.Though the police went to the ashram Saturday, inmates informed them that the `godman’ was now in Haridwar.
The latest cases have exposed the seamier side of many gurus, some of whom claim millions of followers — including top politicians — and become hugely rich from donations. They have also set the government of Kerala on a collision course with religious groups after a state minister declared that most swamis were frauds. James Vadakkumcherry, a former teacher at the Kerala police training college who is doing a study on bogus swamis, said that there were about 50 or 60 such “holy men” in Kerala alone.