Amma attacker is mentally ill: father

Khaleef Times/August 23, 2005
By T.K. Devasia

Trivandrum -- Kerala police have framed a case of attempt to murder against 47-year-old Pavithran, who made a vain attempt to attack spiritual leader Mata Amritanandamayi (Amma) at her ashram in Quilon on Sunday despite his father producing medical records showing that he was under treatment for mental ailment.

Karungapally circle inspector D. Rajagopal, who is leading the investigation, said the police had registered a case under section 307 of Indian Penal Code since the accused had tried to pounce on to the spiritual leader while she led the Sunday evening bhajans or devotional songs.

He said Pavithran could not harm her as he was stopped by her disciples. Armed with a knife, the accused had jumped towards the stage where the spiritual leader was sitting. He attacked three disciples who overpowered him.

However, Pavithran, who was a former inmate of the ashram, claimed that he had brandished his knife against three disciples after he was attacked while trying to approach Amma.

Pavithran told the police that he was a rubber tapper and had started carrying a knife with him after he was attacked three years ago. His father claimed that his son was under medication for mental ailment and turned violent whenever he did not take his medicines. He said Pavithran had been visiting the ashram for the last 17 years and he was associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) for three years.

The police official said that police had not found the explanations credible. He said they would also need to verify the medical records before reaching a conclusion. Amma's plea to forgive the accused would also not influence the investigation.

Amma's plea for mercy has also not been taken seriously by her disciples, who feel that the incident could not be dismissed lightly. Swamy Dhyana Amrita, a senior member of the Ashram told reporters that the incident was shrouded in mystery. "It is not easy to accept theories like the man was mentally unsound. If he was a follower of Amma, why did he come to the ashram with a knife? Why did he rush to Amma and attack those who came on his way?" he asked.

Amma, who is called the hugging saint, said she expected her followers to adopt a forget-and-forgive approach. "This person should be forgiven. We are not interested in making it an issue. I am happy that nothing untoward has happened", she added.

"All those who are born will die one day. The incident should not deter us. I don't want my followers to create any problem for what had happened on Sunday", she added.

Meanwhile, Pavithran was produced before the magistrate in the evening and remanded to judicial custody.

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