Case ordered against ex-disciple, media houses

| | Kochi

A court in Kochi on Monday ordered registration of cases against Australia-born Gail Treadwell, who had levelled serious allegations through her book, against spiritual leader Mata Amritanandamayi and her Mutt in Kollam, Kerala and five media houses which had published reports based on the contents of the book. Tredwell is a former disciple of the Mata.

The First Class Judicial Magistrate Court, Ernakulam ordered registration of FIRs against Tredwell, Madhyamam and Thejas newspapers and TV channels Indiavision, Reporter and Media One for hurting religious sentiments. However, there was no order for case against CPI(M)-controlled Kairali TV channel which aired an interview of Tredwell.

Case would also be initiated against Deepak Prakash, a lawyer based at the Supreme Court who approached the police and the court seeking probe against the Mata and her Ashram on the basis of the allegations raised by the foreigner in her book. A case would also be initiated against publishers Wattle Tree Press.

The judge asked the Palarivattom Police in Kochi to register FIRs against the author and the media houses after hearing the arguments over a petition filed by one Sijith of Cherthala, Alappuzha, a disciple of Mata Amritanandamayi.

Heated debates had taken place in the Kerala media and social networking sites like Facebook on the allegations raised by Gail Tredwell in her book, Holy Hell: A Memoir of Faith, Devotion and Pure Madness.Tredwell, aka Gayatri, was a disciple of the Mata and an inmate of the Mata Amritanandamayi Mutt for nearly 20 years.

Gail, who had reached the Mutt in 1981 and left it in 1999, said in the book that several bad things were happening there, that the personality of Mata Amritanandamayi had an unfamiliar side, that the Ashram had been holding huge amounts of money in Swiss bank accounts and that she had been sexually assaulted in the Mutt.

The court observed that the allegations the former Mata disciple had levelled through her book and the reports the media houses published had hurt the religious sentiments of a large section of people. It said the book had not been published in India and the media houses which reported on it had not verified the credentials of the online institution that had spread reports on it. 



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