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January 26, 2016 Leave a comment

A documented history of the Prasad sisters’ campaign against the Ashram

January 14, 2015 Leave a comment

Well-wishers of Sri Aurobindo Ashram have made available the following documents pertaining to the suicide sisters’ “beyond belief” campaign against the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust.

  1. Report of the Enquiry Officer at the High Court of Chennai dated 24/10/2002. This report details Hemlata Prasad’s gross misconduct and indiscipline, justifying the action taken against her by the Ashram Trust.
  2. Judgment of The Judicial Magistrate at Pondicherry dated 23/11/2004. Concludes that Hemlata Prasad’s charges of having been defamed, harassed, and sexually assaulted are baseless, full of contradictions, and made with mischievous intent.
  3. Report of the Fact Finding Enquiry Officer A.V. Nagarajan (Government of Pondicherry) in the matter of complaints among the residents in Ambabhikshu House and certain other Ashramites dated 10/1/2005. This report concludes (1) that the complaints filed by the Prasad sisters against members of the Ashram residing in the same apartment block were false, malicious and motivated, and that (2) the complaints against the Prasad sisters filed by numerous members of the Ashram and co-residents of said apartment block were true and serious. The report clearly establishes that “the undesirable demeanour of the five sisters [renders] them unsuitable for being inmates of the Ashram.”
  4. News report dated Jan 2005 of the Enquiry conducted by the National Commission for Women (NCW) into the  allegations of sexual harassment made by the Prasad sisters. The NCW did not submit a copy of its report to the Ashram. As this independent news report states, the allegation made by the Prasad sisters are false and there “appears to be malicious planning behind the complaints.”
  5. Enquiry Report of the National Human Right Commission, New Delhi, dated 12/4/2005. Concludes that the complaints filed by Arunashri Prasad  against several members of the Ashram are completely baseless, and that there is no ground for any human rights violation in the Sri Aurobindo Ashram.
  6. Order of the Madras High Court dated 21/6/2010 ordering the Prasad sisters to find accommodation outside of the Ashram premises.
  7. Second Order of the Madras High Court dated 3/8/2012 ordering the Prasad sisters to find accommodation outside the Ashram premises.
  8. Order of the Supreme Court dated 29/4/2014 ordering the Prasad sisters to vacate their premises and the Ashram by 31st July, 2014. This order was issued after the Prasad sisters had challenged the High Court’s order of August 2012. It is here that the Prasad sisters hired India’s topmost law firm in a final, desperate attempt to win their case. Considering that all along the Prasad sisters had stated that their financial position was weak, someone must have bet heavily on this case against the Ashram. The order shows that the Ashram prevailed.
  9. Affidavits of undertakings dated 7/5/2014, signed by the Prasad sisters, assuring the Courts and the Sri Aurobindo Ashram that they shall vacate their premises in the Ashram by 31st July 2014 as ordered by the Supreme Court.
  10. Order of the Supreme Court dated 9/12/2014 issuing an arrest warrant for the Prasad sisters for their contempt of court, for not having vacated their premises in the Ashram as agreed by them in their sworn affidavit of undertaking.
  11. Letter by the Prasad sisters to the Trustees dated 15/12/2014 threatening to commit suicide. This letter also contains the explicit threat of (1) holding all those people whom they would name in a suicide note responsible for their deaths and (2) causing adverse repercussions forthe Ashram in the event of their deaths.
  12. Ashram Trust’s letter to the Superintendent of Police dated 15/12/2014 informing the Police of the Prasad sisters’ suicide threat and asking the police to take all precautions to protect the sisters from causing harm to themselves and others.

Deccan Chronicle implicates Sraddhalu Ranade

December 22, 2014 Leave a comment

Sisters victims of Sri Aurobindo Ashram squabble

From the article:

Senior ashramites claim that Jayashree Prasad and her younger sisters were misguided by another ashramite, Sraddalu Ranade, who has been fighting the trust for years.

“Sraddalu and his associates are responsible for driving the sisters and their old parents to the point of suicide. They have been trying to damage the image of the ashram for several years,” claimed one senior ashramite.

Senior ashramites claim that Jayashree Prasad and her younger sisters were being advised by another ashramite, Sraddalu Ranade, who has been fighting against the ashram trust for several years, demanding that it be dissolved, citing mismanagement.

“Sraddalu and his associates are responsible for driving the sisters and their aged parents to the point of suicide. They have been trying to damage the image of the ashram for the past several years. First, they went ballistic against the biography of Sri Aurobindo written by American Peter Heehs claiming that it portrayed the ashram and its guru in a bad light. When they could not succeed in this, they forced these sisters to make allegations of sexual harassment. They have also filed a case in the Supreme Court, seeking dissolution of the trust and the ashram. We have to wait and see what their next move will be,” the senior ashramite said.

When this newspaper tried to contact Sraddalu Ranade at his home just a few blocks away from the ashram premises, his mother Sadhana, also an inmate of the ashram since 1968, said he was away on a tour to lecture on the teachings of the guru. “My son came here when he was just six months old and is a product of the ashram and its school. He has been fighting against the present members of the trust as there has been gross mismanagement and several complaints of sexual harassment. There are at least 100 cases being fought against the ashram management in various courts across the country. If they have done nothing wrong, why are so many cases filed against them?” asks Sadhana. “We have only been fighting to preserve the sanctity of this ashram and its glory.”

Suicide sisters: Sri Aurobindo Ashram clarifies

December 22, 2014 Leave a comment

Re-posted from Well-wishers of Sri Aurobindo Ashram:

Those within the Sri Aurobindo Ashram who had to directly or indirectly deal with the Prasad sisters and their senseless agitation for the last 14 years have witnessed from close quarters the complete unreasonable folly as well as the unimaginably dirty tricks that were being vindictively played by these sisters in their relentless attempts to bring disrepute to the Ashram and cause it harm.

Until now, some of those who were not familiar with the completely unreasonable, unjustified and unfair actions of the Prasad sisters, may have given some benefit of the doubt to the Prasad sisters. In fact, an uninformed observer may even be led to believe that if the Prasad sisters took the extreme step of attempting to commit suicide (which was in part unsuccessful), there might be some validity to their story.

But after the Prasad sisters publicly demonstrated their complete and unjustified anarchism by holding the Supreme Court of India, the Puducherry Police, the Puducherry administration and the Sri Aurobindo Ashram to ransom and went to the extremes of executing their premeditated suicidal plans to cause as much damage to the Sri Aurobindo Ashram it became crystal clear that we were not dealing with normal people when it came to the Prasad sisters.

When the Prasad sisters announced their suicide mission to cause as much damage to the Sri Aurobindo Ashram and threateningly spelled out that their “…suicide notes will cause adverse repercussions on the Ashram community as a whole…” they had sealed their fate.

To quote one of our readers who wished to maintain anonymity:

To use one’s life and the threat of suicide to harm the life of others is one of the worst forms of terrorism. The attempt to commit suicide (which was in part successful as well as a failure) designed to cause harm to the Ashram and some of its inmates, has very little difference from the cowardly acts of terrorism inflicted by suicidal extremists. Despite the tragedy and personal loss for those committing such irresponsible and ruthless acts, such a behaviour cannot be condoned or justified.

Such an act of ‘terrorism’ against the Ashram assumes an even larger dimension as any attack against the Ashram constitutes an attack against the work of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother. To be willing to use one’s life to cause injury to Their work only shows to what extent the attackers were possessed by forces that were willing to destroy everything.

Whether the sisters have made themselves willing instruments of such destructive forces or whether they were lured [by anti-Ashram elements] into such a situation is something that should be known.

We therefore invite all our readers to see and hear for themselves the information that the Ashram has now shared publicly.


For non-Tamil-speakers: The English interview begins at 0:40.

Some unanswered questions

December 19, 2014 Leave a comment

In a recent blog post, Well-wishers of Sri Aurobindo Ashram point out the following unanswered questions:

During the last few years, the court case initiated by the Prasad sisters more than a decade ago seemed to gain importance for the anti-Ashram elements who started relying heavily on the outcome of the sisters’ case in order to find fault with the Ashram authorities, at any cost. This became more and more evident as many of the other anti-Ashram initiatives were failing one after the other. All of a sudden, the Prasad sisters seemed to have found all the support that they needed to propel their case all the way to the Supreme Court. Not only was there a renewed sense of aggression in the camp of the Prasad sisters and their anti-Ashram comrades [witness the launch of their website in mid-October 2014, complete with posts dating back to 2001], but their armory seemed to have no limit as well. Literally out of the blue, the Prasad sisters had the country’s top most law firm defending their case and representing them in court. The sisters who all along claimed that they didn’t have any financial resources, not even to travel to Delhi to attend the court’s proceedings, had lawyers that cost thousands of dollars per hearing arguing for them. Simultaneously, the one-sided version of their stories featured prominently in magazines such as the Tehelka, drawing attention at the national level. Even some politicians with connections to the anti-Ashram elements, local and from afar, seemed to be interested to bat for the Prasad sisters. For the Prasad sisters it must have been like waking up one fine day after a long slumber and finding that they were on the verge of winning the lottery! Thus, despite the euphoria that they were fed for the last few years by those who were propping them up, when at last it became evident that no matter what they did, their case that was borne out of spite and personal vendetta, was doomed to fail, their elation must have taken a sharp u-turn and plummeted into the depths of desperation.

The numerous twists and turns of the case of the Prasad sisters thus conceal a lot of the answers that people must be asking themselves. For instance:

  • Have those anti-Ashram elements who invested significant resources in the court case of the sisters, stepped forward to help and reassure the sisters to live a dignified life after the Supreme Court had no choice but to order the sisters to leave the Ashram?
  • Were the sisters useful to the people who were supporting them only for as long as their court case had some utility for them?
  • Who are these people who supported the five sisters for their court case against the Ashram, but who are faceless, nameless and apparently heartless enough to have not done the needful to dissuade the sisters from the taking some of the most unreasonable steps?

In their warning and threat to commit suicide, the Prasad sisters had clearly spelled out their intention to cause as much harm as possible to the Ashram. The sisters had threatened: “We are also going to leave suicide notes naming all of you [trustees of the Ashram] and many others concerned, all of whom are responsible for constraining us to end our lives. Our suicide notes will cause adverse repercussions on the Ashram community as a whole and most specifically on all the persons named therein.” The proposed suicide of the sisters, with the intention to cause damage to the Ashram would have suited the anti-Ashram elements who had supported the sisters’ attack against the Ashram.

  • Could the sisters have been directly or indirectly encouraged to take their extreme, suicidal step?

High Melodrama

December 18, 2014 6 comments