Religious texts instruct women to surrender their bodies

Vidhi Doshi at the Post reports on a growing investigation into a sinister religious sect in India.

At least 48 underage girls have been rescued in police raids on the sect’s ashrams in New Delhi since Dec. 19, officials say. Officials say they have found women and girls kept in prisonlike conditions, behind barbed wire and multiple locked gates. Authorities say there are hundreds more properties and potentially thousands of women and girls living in them.

The sect, Adhyatmik Vishwa Vidyalaya (AVV) preaches that its leader is an incarnation of various Hindu gods and has descended to earth to unite people of all faiths and transform them into deities. Little is known about the sect’s origins or its leader, Virendra Dev Dixit, though followers say it is an offshoot of Brahma Kumaris — a large, international sect with over three dozen centers in the United States and millions of followers worldwide. Brahma Kumaris distanced itself from Dixit’s organization and denounced it decades ago.

There’s nothing like a “sect” for giving men access to captive women, is there.

Dixit claims to be an incarnation of, among others, the Hindu god Krishna, who according to myth has 16,000 wives. Swati Maliwal, chairwoman of Delhi’s government agency for women’s affairs, said that investigators found 200 women and girls in miserable conditions.

“The ashram has been running illegal activities,” Maliwal said. Investigators, she said, found substances that induce dizziness and unprescribed medicines that may have been used to drug and pacify women. She also said religious texts found during a raid instruct women to “surrender” their bodies to Dixit.

In a very Spiritual and Enlightened way, of course.

Maliwal went with police on the December 19 raid, which found squalid conditions at the ashram and removed 41 minors. They didn’t have the authority to remove adult women against their will. All the women appeared drugged.

The AVV case comes months after the rape conviction of another popular guru, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. The sect’s existence for more than a decade, despite at least 10 complaints to police over the years, illustrates the unaccountability of holy men in India, where religious leaders have huge financial and political power.

The inquiry into AVV offers hope to hundreds of families with relatives in the sect. Police all over northern India are raiding other ashrams associated with Dixit. In Delhi, Maliwal said, five of at least eight ashrams have been searched by authorities. But many of the sect’s ashrams are in still unknown locations.

The US is very like India in this way. Mormons and wack Christian groups can basically imprison women and children and abuse them freely because the authorities don’t want to take on the goddy gang.

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