Osho followers vow to protect Rs 1,000 crore Pune property
- Abhay Vaidya, DNA
- Oct 10, 2011, 06:59 AM IST
Pune: The property dispute around the Osho International Meditation Resort's (erstwhile Osho Commune) estimated Rs 1,000-crore real estate in Pune has triggered a worldwide networking buzz among Osho's followers after an exclusive report by DNA on Sunday.
Many followers from across the country and abroad have expressed eagerness to protect the property from land sharks with strong political connections in Pune and Mumbai, in response to a petition filed by two Osho followers with the charity commissioner in Mumbai.
"We have been receiving calls and messages from Gujarat, Delhi, Mumbai and even abroad, pledging support in our fight to protect the Osho trust properties in Pune," said Yogesh Thakkar (alias Swami Prem Geet), one of the petitioners against the application by the Osho International Foundation (OIF).
Thakkar, who was present — along with his co-petitioner, Kishore Raval (alias Swami Prem Anadi) — while speaking to DNA, said they felt overwhelmed by the support from Osho's followers to their initiative to demand transparency in the OIF activities in Pune.
As reported by DNA on Sunday, the two petitioners filed on Wednesday last raised serious objections to OIF's application No. 87/11 [P.T.R. No. F 14570 (M)] filed under section 36 of the Bombay Public Trusts Act, 1950.
Section 36 of the BPT Act states that "pre-sanction of charity commissioner for sale or mortgage of immovable property of public trust is must, irrespective of whatever is mentioned in the by-laws of the trust".
Their petition states that three prominent trustees of the OIF, all foreigners, were attempting "to sell the trust premises in Pune to politically influenced persons from Pune and Mumbai".
These three individuals were identified in the petition as Michael O'Byrne (alias Swami Jayesh), George Meredith (alias Swami Amrito) and Darcy O'Byrne (Swami Yogendra), leaders of the Osho faction which took full control of the Osho trusts after the mystic's controversial death in his Pune commune on January 19, 1990.
Raising serious objections over the functioning of the Osho trusts Thakkar — who was initiated into sanyas personally by Osho Rajneesh in 1979 — told DNA that the entire decision making lies in the hands of just 3-4 individuals. "Just three foreigners are taking all the decisions and everyone else has been systematically deleted (sic)," he said.
While demanding that the decision-making in the Osho trusts be expanded and democratised, Thakkar and Raval alleged that the common man's access to the Osho Commune, renamed Osho International Meditation Resort, had been made difficult.
"There's an entry fee of Rs 1,000 per day for foreigners and Rs 480 for Indians. There's additional cost for food and other facilities," he said, while demanding that the Osho premises be available to the people at "a reasonable cost such as Rs 100 per day."
When asked by DNA, OIF spokesperson Amrit Sadhana acknowledged that spending a day at the Osho resort would cost about Rs 1,000 per person, which was comparable to lunch in a star hotel or a visit to a multiplex. "These charges include access to more than six meditations in the auditorium which is air-conditioned, besides other facilities," she said.
Thakkar also demanded that Osho's Samadhi, where his ashes have been buried in what was his bedroom at the time of his death, be called as such by the Osho trust authorities. He alleged that the word "samadhi" was being deliberately erased by the authorities to make it easy to sell the property in future or use it for other purposes.
The OIF spokesperson Sadhana vehemently denied this charge. "We do not say that he is dead and therefore we don't use the word samadhi," she said.
Spread over nearly 35 acres, the Osho International Meditation Resort in upmarket Koregaon Park bears special significance for Osho's followers as this was where he did his life's work and where his samadhi with his ashes is located.
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