A 32-year-old woman who was confined in the Adhyatmik Vishwa Vidyalaya in north Delhi’s Rohini area told The Indian Express that a “baba” had raped her on several occasions.
The Delhi High Court had on Wednesday asked the Central Bureau of Investigation to inspect the so-called ashram following allegations that children and young women were being sexually assaulted and illegally confined there.
“They used to tell us that if we interacted with the outside world, we would be committing a sin. They kept telling us we would not survive,” the woman told the daily. “The baba had told me that I was one of his 16,000 ranis... He raped me on several occasions.”
Many other women, mostly from villages in Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, had similar experiences, the report said. The order comes after the parents of three girls and NGO Foundation for Social Empowerment moved the court claiming many young women were raped at the Adhyatmik Vishwa Vidyalaya and several had committed suicide but no case was ever registered. A day earlier, the high court had asked the police to inspect the ashram, and record the inspection on video.
Advocate Nandita Rao told the court, “Over 100 girls were housed in animal-like conditions with no privacy.” She also said that many who were confined there appeared to be under the influence of narcotics. “The inmates were kept in close confinement in dark spaces with no sunlight and metal grill, with nowhere to exit,” she added. “The sleeping area is also monitored and the girls have no privacy.”
Delhi Commission for Women’s chief Swati Maliwal, who had accompanied the police to inspect the place, said that barbed wire fenced the terraces of the heavily-fortified building, and not even a bird could enter or leave the place, according to The Times of India.
“Suitcases full of letters with sexually explicit content addressed by women to Virender Dev Dixit were also found,” she said. Dixit claims to be the founder of the Adhyatmik Vishwa Vidyalaya.
Many of the women lodged there refused to speak, she said, adding that those who did said they were there for knowledge. However, she added, “We found no books or materials that indicated spiritual knowledge being imparted.” They found five to six girls lying ill in bed, but they were unable to answer about their illness or the medicines they were taking, Maliwal added.
“We also learnt that the residents of the locality had complained many times to police, and the police station had daily diary entries to prove the concern of the people that a sex racket was being run in the garb of an ashram there,” she said.