The Ministry of External Affairs on Friday said the government has cancelled the passport of self-styled godman Nithyananda and also rejected his application for a fresh one.
Nithyananda is accused of abducting children and using them to raise money for his ashram. In June 2018, a court in Karnataka had framed charges against him in a rape case.
“We have sensitised all our missions and posts that this man is wanted in several cases of crime in India,” ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar told reporters. “We have asked our missions and posts to sensitise the local government that in case he happens to transit or be in that country, they should let us know.”
Reports over the past week have claimed that Nithyananda has found an independent country called “Kailaasa” near Ecuador in Latin America. “Kailaasa is a nation without borders created by dispossessed Hindus from around the world who lost the right to practice Hinduism authentically in their own countries,” reads the introduction on the website.
On being asked about this, Kumar said: “Setting up a website is different from setting up a nation.”
“We can only act on the basis of inputs we receive from different agencies,” Kumar said when asked if the government will issue an extradition notice. “We have not received such requests...we can only take action once that comes to us.”
Kumar added that it was difficult to speculate on Nithyananda’s location. “In previous cases as well there have been speculation about the fugitives,” he added. “We are still waiting for any information in this regard.”
Ecuador says it has not given asylum to Nithyananda
Meanwhile, the Ecuadorian government on Friday denied that it had granted asylum to Nithyananda. “The Embassy of Ecuador categorically denies the statement, wherever published, that self-styled Guru Nithyananda was given asylum by Ecuador or has been helped by the government of Ecuador in purchasing any land or island in South America near or far from Ecuador,” it said in a statement.
“Moreover, Ecuador denied the request for international personal protection [refuge] made by Mr Nithyananda before Ecuador and later on, Mr Nithyananda left Ecuador,” the statement added.
It observed that the information linking Ecuador with Nithyananda was sourced from the website Kailaasa.org, which is reportedly maintained by the religious leader or his followers. “Henceforth all digital or print media houses should refrain from citing Ecuador in any form in all pieces of information related to Mr Nithyananda,” the Ecuadorian Embassy added.