This week, on Tuesday night, a raid at the Adhyatmik Vishwa Vidyalaya in Rohini in the Northern part of Delhi rescued 41 girls. Following a petition filed by an NGO-Foundation for Social Empowerment, alleging several minor and women were confined in inhuman condition, a panel was formed consisting of 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.
All the 41 rescued girls are minors. Around 40 mobile phones, 12 memory cards and few letters were recovered. The panel also recovered syringes and needles, pointing to a possibility that the inmates were regularly administered drugs. The girls are handed over to the competent authorities. DCW chief said that they will be counseled and united with their families.
This ashram cum meditation center was founded by self-styled Spiritual Guru Virendra Dev Dixit. It is very shocking that the Ashram flourished for close to 15 years in the residential area of Rohini. Neighbours said that they were extremely wary of this building and that even if a cricket ball went inside the premises, no one dared to enter.
The residential part of the ashram consisted of a five storied building. The building was fortified entirely with metal gates and locks at every point. The passages were shallow, and the small dingy rooms where the inmates were staying were inhuman.
The panel ran into a heated argument with the women who had locked themselves in the Ashram. Only after the producing the court order, the panel was allowed to enter the premises.
Expressing her shock at this, Maliwal said,” 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.” One of the layers in panel claimed to be manhandled by the women when they tried entering the Ashram.
Nandita Rao, one of the court-appointed lawyers, informed the court that more than 100 women were made to live in extremely inhumane conditions with no privacy. The women seemed to be under the influence of narcotics. Five to six girls were discovered laying on the bed, unable to answer any questions about their illness or what medicines they have been taking.
The rescued girls appeared to a minor. Medical checkups to ascertain their exact age were initiated. Swati Maliwal said, ”Efforts are on to get the ages of the girls confirmed through medical checks and to trace their families.”
The Delhi HC ordered the city government to send a team of doctors to examine the girls since they appeared to be sick. It also directed Child Welfare Committee chairperson to visit the premises and take action by Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act.
The team told the court that a second building had male inmates and there was a possibility that minor boys could be living there.
Virendra Dev Dixit, the founder of the ashram, is still on the loose. Many women alleged sexual assault by the baba. The inmates were brainwashed into believing that any interaction with the outside world was a sin and that would not be able to survive outside.
A 32-year-old woman who was confined in the ashram said, ”They used to tell us that if we interacted with the outside world, we would be sinning. 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.”
Suitcases with letters having sexually explicit content addressed by women to Virendra Dev Dixit were also found.
The Delhi HC on Thursday has sought to know about the location this baba. The HC has issued strict directives to a lawyer appearing for Adhyatmik Vishwa Vidyalaya to not dodge any questions on the location of the baba. The bench remarked, ”If he has done nothing wrong, there is no difficulty in him joining the investigation.”
When probed the location of the founder, the ashram counsel told the bench that the founder was not in Delhi and that he has sent a message about the court’s order through someone else. HC has now directed the council to give information on the whereabouts of the founder by December 22 and also cautioned him not to act as a proxy between founder and the court.
DWC chief expressed her concern over Devendra Dev Dixit still roaming free.
So called Baba Virender Dikshit should immediately be arrested by CBI. All his locations across India should be raided. If this man could manage so much in the Capital, God knows what all illegal activities are ongoing in rest of the country!
Coming down heavily on the animal-like conditions where the inmates were forced to live, the bench said, “If you are running an ashram…what is this business of a metal door, iron grills, and locks. If you are claiming that the inmates are free, then why are you controlling their movements, who they meet and how they eat? Why are you not allowing them to meet their parents?”
Denying all the claims an ashram pravachak at the women’s quarters said, ”We have written documents from the women which had also been sent to the local police stations in their villages. They want to stay here on their own will and are being fed well, and taught yoga and Atharva Gyan.”
This is not the first time we have seen people being exploited by these self-styled babas under the garb of religion. The panel has to be lauded for their efforts in exposing this scam. Strict actions should be taken against those involved. Common people should be educated against falling prey to such hoax babas.