The Delhi High Court on Friday asked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to trace the founder of a north Delhi-based ashram after allegations of rape and illegal confinement of women on the premises surfaced this week. A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar has asked Virender Dev Dixit, the founder of the Adhyatmik Vishwa Vidyalaya in North Delhi’s Rohini, to be present before it on January 4.
Operating for the past 25 years in Vijay Vihar, the ashram is now at the centre of allegations of sexual assault, illegal confinement of women and men, use of narcotic substances to allegedly keep the women confined inside the premises. A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar on Wednesday had asked the CBI Director to set up a special investigation team and seize all records pertaining to FIRs lodged in connection with alleged rape and suicides of the girls there. On Thursday, the bench also sought to know why the ashram’s founder was not making an appearance if he was genuine and honest.
Acting on a petition filed by an NGO, three days ago the high court had ordered a team to inspect the ashram. In its PIL, the Foundation for Social Empowerment NGO mentioned that several minors and women were allegedly being illegally confined at the “spiritual university.” The case of a missing 23-year-old that led Delhi HC to look into ashram
On Tuesday evening, a Delhi police team led by DCP (Rohini) Rajneesh Gupta, Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) chief Swati Maliwal, and four advocates appointed by the Delhi High court — entered the premises despite hostility from ashram workers and noted their observations. “There was a lot of hostility. It was shocking that a court-appointed team was not allowed to enter. We were even confined inside the premises for around 45 minutes,” Maliwal said.
The panel alleged that the girls were in animal-like condition behind iron grills and surrounded by barbed-wire-topped walls. It also told the court that the girls have no privacy even while bathing.
During their inspection, the police team found that many inmates were under influence of narcotic substances and claimed being raped. “..They kept telling us we would not survive. The baba had told me that I was one of his 16,000 ranis. He raped me on several occasions,” a 32-year-old woman said. Read more here.