Sex video exposes sleazy side of Swaminarayan sect monks

AHMEDABAD: Just three months after five of its monks were sentenced to death for killing their guru, the Vadtal branch of the Swaminarayan sect in Gujarat is in the news again for a VCD documenting the sexual exploits of two of its priests.

A VCD showing the two unidentified monks in compromising positions with a woman surfaced this week, shocking the followers of the more than a century old Vadtal faction of the influential Swaminarayan sect.

Following reports of the sex tape in a local daily, the group’s main temple in Dabhoi in Vadodara district, 250 km from here, was closed on Friday as temple authorities steadfastly refused to react and police provided security to ward off any trouble.

The temples of the group in Vadtal, Anand and Nadiad in central Gujarat witnessed angry crowds of followers trying to seek explanations from senior monks who remained unavailable to them.

Temple board chief Nautam Swami admitted the involvement of the monks, but sought a police investigation saying that the two were being blackmailed by those in possession of the video.

He was quoted as saying: “It was a sting operation, part of a conspiracy carried out by the rival faction.”

“It is a two-year-old incident and has been raked up to defame the sect,” he added.

Nautam Swami also alleged that Acharya Ajendraprasad, the deposed head of the sect, was behind the “conspiracy”.

The bitter rivalry between the two groups for the control of the temple board has hogged the headlines in the local media for the past two years.

Reports indicate that other similar VCDs exposing the sleazy side of the sect have also been doing the rounds.

This is not the first time that monks of the Vadtal faction of the Swaminarayan sect are facing allegations of violating their vow of celibacy. In the past few years, there have been several allegations of monks in the faction being involved in rape, sodomy and paid sex.

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IANS, India
Oct. 9, 2004

Religion News Blog posted this on Saturday October 9, 2004.
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