Controversial self-styled godman, Swamy Nithyananda, has found himself in another controversy with allegations of “illegally confining” two daughters of a Bengaluru-based couple.A petition has been filed in the Gujarat High Court by the couple seeking the court’s help to get back two daughters allegedly “illegally confined” from an ashram set up by Nithyananda, who faces rape charges. The petition is set to be heard by the court on Wednesday.The petitioners, Janardana Sharma and his wife, in their habeas corpus petition said they had admitted their four daughters in an educational institution run by the godman in Bengaluru in 2013 when they were in the age group of 7-15. However, their daughters were allegedly shifted to another institution in his ashram in Ahmedabad without their consent. When they learnt about this, that their daughters were this year shifted to another branch of Nithyananda Dhyanapeetham, named Yogini Sarvagyapeetham, situated on the premises of Delhi Public School in Ahmedabad, they rushed to Ahmedabad and tried to meet them, but the officials in the place did not allow them inside.When officials of the institute refused to let them meet their daughters, the petitioners first sought the local police help. The couple could bring back their two minor daughters with the help of police and Protection of Child Rights Commission. But their elder daughters, Lopamudra Janardhana Sharma (21) and Nandhita (18), refused to come with them.Based on the Sharma family’s complaint, the Ahmedabad Rural police lodged an FIR against Nithyananda and other officials of the Ashram.“Our team is probing the matter,” Ahmedabad (Rural) Superintendent of Police R.V. Asari said.In their petition, the couple alleged that their two younger daughters were kidnapped and kept in illegal confinement for more than two weeks and were deprived of sleep.The Sharmas have urged the court to direct the police as well the institute’s authorities to produce their daughters, who, they alleged, are being kept under “illegal confinement,” before the court and hand them over to them.Cong. slams govt.Meanwhile, the Gujarat Congress slammed the BJP government in the State for not initiating action against Nithyananda Ashram. “It is a well-known fact that Nithyananda enjoys protection from the State government despite the fact that many children are being confined in the ashram against the wishes of their parents,” Gujarat Congress spokesman Manish Doshi said on Tuesday.
India captain Virat Kohli lavished praise on spinner Ravichandran Ashwin on Monday after his 10-wicket match haul vindicated the hosts’ decision to go into the series opener against New Zealand with an extra batsman.Normally a steadfast advocate of a five-bowler attack in Tests, Kohli laid himself open to criticism when the team sacrificed leg-spinner Amit Mishra to make room for an extra batsman in Rohit Sharma.Many questioned the wisdom of the move but with Ashwin claiming half the 20 Kiwi wickets that tumbled at Kanpur’s Green Park Stadium, Kohli was a relieved man.”He’s been outstanding for the Indian team. If you see all the impact players in the world, I think he comes in the top three or four easily,” Kohli told reporters after his team clinched India’s 500th test by 197 runs to go 1-0 up in the three-test series. (Also read: Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin script 197-run victory in India’s historic 500th Test)”The rankings, of which I’m not a big fan, suggest Ashwin is the best at the moment and there’s no doubt that he is bowling wonderfully well for the past couple of years,” Kohli said.”It’s priceless to have cricketers like that in your test team, players who can give you balance with bat and ball. I wish he keeps nurturing his skills so that we can keep dominating test matches.”Ashwin and left-armer Ravindra Jadeja shared 16 wickets in the spin-dominated contest in which the off-spinner become the second fastest to 200 test wickets, achieving the feat in his 37th match. (Also read: Ravichandran Ashwin breaks Waqar Younis’ record, becomes second fastest to take 200 Test wickets)advertisementAustralian spinner Clarrie Grimmett took one test fewer to reach the milestone.Kohli said it was a smart decision to play another batsman, pointing to Sharma’s unbeaten 68 in the second innings. (Also read: Ravindra Jadeja reveals why he and Ravichandran Ashwin are a dangerous pair)”The extra batsman helped. I mean Rohit got runs in the second innings, (and was) pretty solid with Jadeja. Both were able to play positively and gave us an hour extra to bowl at them.”Meanwhile, the Indian skipper was also pleased with Cheteshwar Pujara, who he says, has improved a lot as he was now scoring at a brisk pace. Pujara had been criticised for a below average show at number three in the previous West Indies tour.”In West Indies, what we spoke about was the need for… he is someone who absorbs the pressure really well but after a certain stage in the innings there comes a time when the team needs runs. That’s where we felt that he has the ability to capitalise. It was just about conveying that to him. He has worked hard on his game. He scored at a good strike rate in the Duleep trophy. Even on this wicket, he was scoring at 65, almost 70 strike rate.”For me it was a revelation, to see Pujara bat that way, because he used to bat that way initially. Especially at home. If you see his double hundreds against England and Australia, he will dominate spinners. That’s exactly what we wanted him to do. We didn’t want him to go into a shell. We want Pujara to bat to his potential. Once he starts scoring runs to go with the composure he already has, it becomes very difficult for the opposition to have control of the game. That’s all we wanted to convey to him. He’s someone who understands what the team wants. He has worked hard on his game. He has come back and he is playing more positively, which we appreciate as a team and me personally as a captain,” he said.
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