Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Malkangiri, Aug 14:
Three days after a fresh FIR and over two years after the first complaint, Odisha police have initiated process to seal controversial Godman Srimad Sarathi Dev’s Khairput ashram over the disappearance of a devotee who had visited the Barimula ashram in Kendrapara in 2013.
After the expose of the fake godman, the activities in the Khairput ashram have reduced considerably just as they have elsewhere in the state. The discourses at the ashram have been suspended and the photograph of Srimad Sarathi has been replaced by one of Hanuman.
“My son—Bala Raju—was a devotee of Sarathi Baba. He had gone to the Barimula in Kendrapara in April 2013 and stayed there for five days. He was in touch with his family through phone during his stay at the ashram. After a few days, he stopped calling. When we called him back, he said that he was admitted to a hospital. He could not provide any details about the hospital,” the missing person’s mother Suraiya said.
A worried Suraiya went to the Balimula ashram to enquire about her son where he met some youths from Khairput in Malkangiri district. The youths could identify Bala Raju when Suraiya showed his photograph to them. They informed her that they had seen her son in the ashram.
A bit relieved by the youths’ confirmation, she wanted to meet Sarathi Baba to ask him about her son’s whereabouts. However, Baba’s disciples declined her request saying that Baba had gone abroad.
When Suraiya threatened them that she would seek police and media help, the ashram staff argued that it will bring a bad name for the ashram. A resident of Khairput told the distraught mother that they would trace her son.
Later, Suraiya filed an FIR with the Malkangiri police in April 2013 but the cops did not act on the complaint. When Srimad Sarathi Dev’s alleged escapade controversy was out in the open, Suraiya again filed an FIR with the local police three days ago.