A woman from Bengaluru has alleged that she was confined at the controversial yoga centre in Kerala’s Ernakulam and physically assaulted so that she does not marry her Christian partner, the Hindustan Times reported on Friday.
In a police complaint filed on October 3, the woman, Vandana, said she was confined at the Sivasakti Yogavidya Kendram, the same centre named by two other women in similar complaints filed in September. Both women had said they were restrained against their will to get them to leave their partners from other religions. The women said they were among 60-odd women at the centre.
Vandana said she was kept at the centre for 31 days between March and May and was allowed to leave only after marrying a Hindu man, the Hindustan Times reported. She claimed she was locked up in a room and blamed the director of the centre, a coordinator and two counsellors for her confinement.
“We get a lot of complaints in a day so I have not yet seen this,” Kochi Police Commissioner MP Dinesh was quoted as saying by the Hindustan Times. He said he received the complaint via email.
Petition filed at Kerala High Court
On September 12, 28-year-old Swetha Haridasan filed a petition at the Kerala High Court, claiming that she was detained for 22 days at the yoga centre and “physically and mentally harassed” to pressure her to abandon her Christian husband. Her statement prompted the court to ask whether the centre was Kerala’s Dera Sacha Sauda – the Haryana-based sect whose leader Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was convicted of rape in August and sentenced to 20 years in prison.
The court asked the police to submit a progress report of its investigation within two weeks. The police have filed a case against five people, including the director of the centre.
Two weeks later, 24-year-old Sruthi Meledath from Kannur district testified before another bench of the High Court that she, too, had been assaulted and confined at the yoga centre. Vandana said she spoke to Haridasan and decided to become a party to the case.