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26 Sep: The Varanasi High Court yesterday ordered the Varanasi Municipal Corporation and related authorities to hand over a property in Varanasi’s Manikarnika Ghat to its rightful owners, Manikarnika Seva Trust, which is managed and operated by the devotees of spiritual leader Paramahamsa Nithyananda.

Although the property was earmarked for an ashram over a year ago by Manikarnika Seva Trust, it had come under litigation when the local municipal corporation, misguided by some miscreants, illegally encroached upon and locked the property, putting a stop to the charitable activities conducted by the trust. As a result, the Trust was forced to file a case in the Varanasi High Court.

Hon’ble Judge Yogesh Tripathi, who passed the landmark judgment, admonished the local authorities for acting in haste and in a wrongful manner, and ordered immediate restoration of the property possession to the Trust.

Manikarnika Ghat on the banks of the Ganga in Varanasi is considered sacred by lakhs of Hindus. The spot also carries a special significance for Paramahamsa Nithyananda’s followers worldwide as the place where their spiritual guru underwent a mystic experience of conscious death during his time as a wandering monk.