HC takes note of teachings of Rohini ashram
Even criminals are not treated the way the parents of the women inmates were being treated, the court observed.
The Delhi High Court today took strong note of the teachings at the ashram of absconding preacher Virender Dev Dixit, asking whether a daughter refusing to talk to her parents or treating them badly was its concept of "spiritual awakening" which was taught to the inmates.
"What type of spiritual awakening is this? You leave your family, parents and say this is spiritual awakening? ... Is this spiritual awakening that a daughter does not want to talk and meet her parents ... You bring 15 women here who talk so bad about their parents," an anguished bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and C Hari Shankar said.
The bench said it did not want that Interpol alerts are issued against someone who is running a spiritual organisation, but a blue-corner (Interpol) notice had to be issued as Dixit had fled from the law.
"How can a daughter say I will not talk to my parents? Is this your teaching? What have you taught them? We are appalled. Teach your women to respect human beings. You bring 15 women here who talk so bad about their parents. What is this teaching? They turn their faces away from parents. We were really upset," the bench told the counsel representing the ashram.
Even criminals are not treated the way these parents are being treated, the court said, while asking DCW chief Swati Maliwal and advocate Nandita Rao to educate the women inmates of the ashram on health and menstrual hygiene.
These letters were being used to pressure the family members from initiating any action against the ashram or Dixit, it had said, adding that the inmates were being kept in "animal-like" conditions behind metal doors in a "fortress-like" building surrounded by a barbed wire fence.
The Institute of Human Behaviour and Applied Sciences (IHBAS), which was earlier asked to nominate some experts to visit the ashram and inspect the conditions there to ascertain the physical and mental health of its inmates and submit a report in the court.
In the report, IHBAS director said the overall living arrangement and physical space at the ashram seemed adequate and the experts did not find any resident living under coercion.
It said that, of the 162 residents, those with medical conditions were already receiving treatment from nearly government hospitals.
"No behavioural oddities, signs of psychological distress or psychiatric disorder could be elicited on mental state examination. They themselves also did not report any such problems in the part as well as presently.
"The residents, as a group, had overvalued ideas (religious belief system) which could be attributed to their long-term association with the organisation," the report said.
The bench listed the matter for further hearing on August 10.
The court had ordered the CBI to probe the matter by setting up a special investigation team (SIT) to take charge of all records and documents pertaining to the case.
At the first hearing of the matter, the court had said the situation at the Rohini ashram was "similar" to the one run in Sirsa, Haryana, without making any direct reference to Gurmeet Ram Rahim or the Dera Sacha Sauda sect led by him.
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