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Kerala court bans book on Amritanandamayi
By AM Abdussalam October 16, 2014
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KOCHI: A lower court in Kerala on Wednesday banned Malayalam translation of a controversial book on spiritual leader Mata Amritanandamayi or Amma as she is addressed by the faithful, by her former close aide and Australian author Gail Tredwell alias Gayatri.

The book, Holy Hell, A Memoir of Faith, Devotion and Pure Madness, which narrates tales of alleged sexual exploitation and abuse in the Mutt (ashram), had created quite a furore when it was published in February this year and consequently the Malayalam translation of the book published by DC Books was banned by the high court.

Pathananmthitta Munsiff Rajappan Pillai banned the Malayalam translation of the book published by Maitri Books, Trivandrum.

Dr Shreejit Krishna and another disciple of Amma, who had successfully approached the high court earlier, sought ban on the book in the Munsiff Court, saying the latest book is true copy of the earlier publication, Amritanandamayi Matt: a Sanyasiniyude Velippeduthalukal, by DC Books.

The exclusive interview with Kairali Television chief editor John Brittas was given in the earlier version.

The court issued the ban after recording the statements of DC Books, John Brittas and Maitri Books, apart from the plaintiffs.

Tredwell had been with Amritanandamayi or “the hugging saint” for two decades before quitting the ashram in 1999.

In her book, she describes how she was sexually abused at the ashram, where, according to her, senior inmates had physical relations.

Tredwell, an Australian national who lives in United States now, joined as a personal attendant to Amma in 1978 at the age of 19.

She witnessed how a woman from a small village on Kerala’s coast attracted millions of followers later in her life, from almost all countries.

She had a close view of how the interests of the Mutt in the educational, health sectors witnessed exponential growth during this period.

In her book, Tredwell alleged that one of the ashram colleagues had sexually exploited her and such repeated abuse eroded her faith.

Her memoir contains details of alleged promiscuity among ashram members.

“Those who dared to speak out were immediately blacklisted, deemed a traitor, and looked upon as a threat to the preservation of faith among her disciples. This life was more than just grueling,” she wrote.

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