“We can’t say anything right now… the court’s decision will come on Monday, then we will be able to say anything.”
These are the words of Ram Reddy, whose daughter Santosh Roopa, without informing him about seven years from now, had come directly from America to live in the disputed ashram of rape accused Baba Virendra Dev Dixit, who has been absconding for many years.
Santosh Roopa, 38, is one of the many women who still live in a five-story fortified building in Rohini, Delhi. Many of these women’s householders have been trying to get their daughters out of the disputed ashram like Ram Reddy. But this is not the first time that the matter related to this disputed ashram has reached the court.
When 41 minor girls were rescued
Earlier in the year 2017, the CBI and the police had raided this disputed building and rescued 41 minor girls from here.
At the center of this entire controversy is 75-year-old Baba Virendra Dev Dixit, who claims to be an incarnation of Shiva. Many cases including rape are registered against them in different police stations.
There are also serious allegations against Virendra Dixit ranging from rape to getting massages from girls living here and having sex.
According to the lawyer of a non-government organization that had filed a PIL in the matter, “Virendra Dev Dixit used to call himself an incarnation of Shiva and used to worship his linga like a Shivalinga.”
After investigating the matter, CBI issued a Blue Corner Notice against him. But even after five years, all the security agencies of India have failed to catch Virendra Dev Dixit.
Despite this, this disputed ashram is running as before and even today more than 100 girls are present here who are allegedly being kept like animals.
Delhi High Court expressed surprise
On Tuesday, the Delhi High Court expressed surprise on this matter and said that how all this is going on in the capital of the country.
The Delhi High Court, while hearing the matter on Thursday, said that the Delhi government should consider taking this ashram under its control.
According to Live Law, the Division Bench of Delhi High Court Acting Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Navin Chawla have said that “the bathroom does not even have doors. The condition is this and all this is happening in the capital of the country. It is quite shocking.” It is going to be solved.
The next hearing, in this case, is to be held on the coming Monday, after which it will be decided whether the Delhi government takes this ashram under its control or not.
Santosh Roopa’s father Ram Reddy is eagerly waiting for the verdict to come on Monday.
Who is Santosh Roopa?
Santosh Roopa, 38, born to Rama Reddy and Garima Sahu, has a Ph.D. in nanotechnology from the prestigious University of Louisville, USA.
Earlier he did his graduation from Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University. But sometime before the year 2015, Santosh Roopa faced severe back pain.
According to Rama Reddy’s lawyer Shravan Kumar, Santosh Roopa has told that due to the relief from Naturopathy, he started meditation, etc.
When Santosh was going through this severe pain, he came to know about Virendra Dev Dixit’s ashram in Rohini, Delhi through YouTube.
After this, Santosh Roopa left America in the year 2015 and went straight to Virendra Dev Dixit’s ashram.
Shravan Kumar explains, “After watching the video on YouTube, Santosh Roopa reached this ashram directly from America without informing her family members. After this, she wrote a letter to many departments including the police and her family members, in which she wrote that ‘I am here. I am living of my own free will’.”
Since then, Santosh Roopa’s parents are fighting a legal battle to get him out of this ashram.
Such letters written on behalf of the women living in this disputed ashram have become public in the past as well.
Shravan Kumar says, “Even in the year 2017 when the committees formed by the court went to 2017 and 2018, they also got hundreds of similar letters. These letters had the signatures of all the women living here and these letters were the same. These ashrams write such letters from the women living here and send them to the government departments and demand that they should be given security to protect them from their family members.
What do Santosh Roopa’s lawyers say?
In this case, lawyer Amol Kokne, appearing in the court on behalf of Santosh Roopa and Ashram, while talking to BBC, presented the side of Santosh Roopa.
Kokne says, “They have petitioned before the court that Santosh Roopa be released. The decision, in this case, will be in favor of Santosh Roopa as she is an adult woman. She is 38 years old today and she is in this ashram. She is living off her own free will. She has given her statements before the court also. All her records are available in front of the court. So this decision will be in favor of Santosh Roopa and she will not be handed over to her parents.”
But before this, there have also been reports related to the keeping of minor girls here. BBC tried to talk to CBI but without success. If it happens, the central agency side will be added.
High Court had to intervene
Those living in the neighborhood of the ashram, on the condition of anonymity, told the situation here.
A woman said, ‘Earlier, girls of 11-12 years used to come here. They were then taken to Mount Abu for the Bhatti ceremony. The age of the girls still living here will be between 20 and 25. Some women are even older. She goes somewhere on Sundays, but never talks to anyone in the neighborhood. The parents of many girls come, keep crying and crying, but these people do not even open the door to meet them. The whole day of the family members is spent sitting on the road here, but there is no hearing.
While listening to this conversation, a person present there said that “many times even the girls of policemen have been trapped here and they could not even take out the poor people, what to talk about the common man?”
However, the BBC has not been able to independently verify these claims. The story of Santosh Roopa’s family members has also been similar.
The meeting of Santosh Roopa’s father, who was trying to get his daughter out of here before a terrible period like Corona and before that, became possible after the intervention of the Delhi High Court.
According to Shravan Kumar’s claim, “Delhi High Court had asked the local DCP, in this case, to get the parents’ daughter to meet. Only after this Santosh Rupa could meet her family members. Santosh Rupa also made a condition in front of the family members. Kept that you take back the case, then I will meet you.
Once Santosh Roopa’s family members had reached this building to meet him, the people of the ashram surrounded him. They were like bouncers… Women with strong stature didn’t even allow the family members to meet Santosh Roopa. Even the parents could not touch their daughter.
When Ram Reddy met Santosh Roopa after the intervention of the Delhi High Court, he was upset to see his condition.
Shravan Kumar says, “Santosh Roopa’s family members are worried about her health. They say that ‘the condition of her daughter is very bad, she was very healthy when she was in America but now her teeth are black, she should Some kind of intoxicant is being given. Just like this, no one’s teeth turn black.’
The family members want to get their daughter treated. But the girl has been brainwashed in such a way that she says that the world is about to end and they will create a new world.”
When the CBI raided this ashram in the year 2017, Delhi Commission for Women chairperson Swati Maliwal told the condition inside the ashram.
She had said that when she entered, she found letters in which girls were made to write objectionable things about the alleged Baba and that a lot of medicines, injections, and used needles were recovered from the ashram.
What happened in the year 2017?
In the year 2017, the teams of CBI and Delhi Police raided this building and freed 41 minor girls.
According to the then report of BBC correspondent Sarvpriya Sangwan, 10 FIRs are registered against Virendra Dev Dixit in different police stations, mostly rape cases.
Along with this, a case of suicide of a woman is also registered in the diary entry of the police. This case was registered by GTB Hospital on 7 December 2016. This woman allegedly committed suicide by jumping off the roof of the ashram.
Apart from this, on March 4, 2017, a case of alleged hanging by a woman in the ashram came to light. During the investigation of the case, the woman of the ashram had said that she was haunted by ghosts.
An NGO named Foundation for Social Empowerment had filed public interest litigation in this matter and the counsel for the organization had told that Virendra Dev Dixit calls himself an incarnation of Shiva.
The lawyer had said, “The way Shivling is worshipped, in the same way, Virendra Dev Dixit asks to worship his linga. The girls who live there are made to drink intoxicants. In the beginning, a ritual was performed by the girls. They call it ‘Bhatti’. According to this ritual, girls are kept in seclusion for 7 days, and then they are not allowed to meet anyone even in the ashram. Girls who perform this ritual are then sent to other cities. and are sent to the ashram. Minor girls are lured to become their gopis. Girls who allow sexual abuse with them, tell them that you are one of my 16,000 queens.”
Baba is still absconding
In this case, Sushma Sahu, a member of the National Commission for Women, had told based on conversations with the girls who managed to escape from here that ‘the girls are given hormone-enhancing medicines so that they can have sex with them. Baba used to give them massages, ask them to bathe, and coax them to have sex with them.
According to Sushma Sahu, a 13-year-old girl from Kanpur told her that she was sexually abused by taking her to Rajasthan and that she was beaten up when she protested.
After investigating the matter, the CBI has submitted its report to the court, but till now not enough information has come out about it.
Along with this, CBI has issued Blue Corner Notice against Virendra Dev Dixit. Along with this, CBI has also announced a reward of five lakhs for giving information related to Virendra Dev Dixit.
But despite all these efforts, Virendra Dev Dixit is still out of the grip of the police.
However, his audio or video is being released on the YouTube channel of Spiritual University. The last video was released on the 19th of April.
What happens now in the case of Santosh Roopa can be decided in the Delhi High Court on Monday. His parents are eagerly waiting for the court’s decision.