//Suspicious death of a French lady citizen at Matha Amrithanandamayi "Ashram" in Kerala

Suspicious death of a French lady citizen at Matha Amrithanandamayi "Ashram" in Kerala

August 27, 20002 Through : Fax : 011-6872305 and Speed Post

The Ambassador
Embassy of France
2/50-E, Shantipath
NEW DELHI-110 021

Your Excellency :

            Sub.  Suspicious death of a French lady citizen at Matha Amrithanandamayi "Ashram" in Kerala

We, the following concerned citizens – (Balachandran Chullikad, Br. Reny George, Dr. Sebastin Paul (Ex-M.P.), Dr. M. S. Jayaprakash, Prof.P. Koya, Dr. Febeena Seethi, Dr. P. Muraleedharan, Dr. Abdul Salam,Prof. Shaji Kadamala, Sr. Anniee Punnoose, and Mukundan C. Menon) –submit the available details pertaining to the mysterious death of a French lady citizen, Ms. Caroline Abitbole, o­n August 05, 2002, at "Amrithapuri Ashram" of Matha Amrithanandamayi at Vallikavu, Kollam District, Kerala State.

Apart from  newspaper reports, our attention was particularly drawn to the incident by a two-column advertisement inserted by her husband Dr.Rajen Ragavan (1, ALEEDUMONT AUX DROUX, 71140 BOURBON-LANCY, FRANCE) in a couple of Malayalam dailies o­n August 10, 2002.  Claiming Ms.Caroline’s death as suicide, Dr. Ragavan’s  advertisement  curiously warned that legal action would be initiated against anybody who "irresponsibly spread or publish wrong information" pertaining to his wife’s death.

The suspicion over Ms. Caroline’s death was aroused since earlier news reports said that her body, after falling from the 8th floor of a building within the "Ashram" premises, was found with the head separated from the body  —  which is a near impossibility in such suicidal deaths.   Apart from this,  at least a dozen  suspicious deaths of inmates/devotees, both of Indian and foreign origin, had taken place in the same "Ashram" in recent years.

Barring  Dr. Ragavan’s warning,  his claims in the lengthy advertisement are self-contradictory to raise numerous questions begging answers.   Some of them are : –

First para of the advertisement said : "My wife was a psychic patient for the past more than 20 years.   Soon after the symptoms of her disease was identified o­n August 5th morning, the "Ashram"  authorities telephonically informed me about it.  I informed them to administer her "Haloperidole" injection, which is usually given under such circumstances.   o­ne of the "Ashram" doctors, Dr. Jaggu, gave the injection immediately.  From the same morning o­nwards, our mutual friends had taken turns in looking after her.."  If such a care and attention was given to Caroline, how come she could jump and commit suicide later o­n the same day?   Apart from this question,  a
sentence in the fourth para of the advertisement contradicted the earlier claim  : "Since the "Ashram" has become a major pilgrim center, separate attention cannot be given to anybody."

More notably, the advertisement said : "We have two flats at  Amrithapuri.  Myself and Caroline used to go and stay there together and separately.  In order to see the Western sea and other natural beauty undisturbed, she insisted to remove the long iron bars o­n the widow in the flat.  For Caroline’s happiness, we both together removed the widow bars.  Let me  take this opportunity to regretfully submit that this was done without the permission or information of the "Ashram" authorities."

Dr. Ragavan’s advertisement continued : "Caroline had psychic  disorders in 1980 at Canada, in 1987 at Thailand, in 1989 at Rishikesh, and in 1998 at California.   Chavara police arrested her in 1994 for attempt to commit suicide by jumping into sea.  o­ne or two years before that, she was arrested at Ernakulam for walking naked o­n a road."

The following questions emerge :
1) Has the "Ashram" got recognition/registration from Kerala/Indian authorities as a place for mental cure?

2) Had the stipulations and conditions imposed by Indian authorities o­n private mental institutions, following the en-mass death of  mental patients in a private place of worship at Yarwadi in Tamil Nadu last year,  been followed in this "Ashram" in Kerala?
3) Why a patient, with a chronic psychic history of 22 years,  as well as involved in criminal cases, was allowed to stay in the "Ashram" that, too, without her husband?  

4) Despite her psychic history, why theiron bars in the window o­n the 8th floor flat was removed without the information/permission of the "Ashram" authorities?

5) Was the earlier news reports that Dr. Ragavan had first met Caroline at this very "Ashram" genuine and correct?  

6) How and where their marriage was solemnised?   

7) Since all unnatural deaths had to be subjected to thorough probe according to Indian and French law, what prompted Dr. Ragavan to take the extra-ordinary measure of releasing such an advertisement warning anybody raising doubts/questions o­n Caroline’s death within five days of the incident?

We also wish to submit that a large number of dignitaries,  including  ruling politicians, Judges, and Police Officers  are the devotees of  Matha Amrithanandamayi and visitors to the "Amrithanandapuri Ashram".   We, therefore,  feel that an impartial probe to bring out the truth o­n the grounds and circumstances that led to Ms. Caroline’s death is  almost impossible without the serious interference of Your Excellency representing the interests of both the French government and French citizens in India.

Since the question of following whichever belief and faith should not  be at the cost of Constitutional rule of law and governance, we seek  your apt attention and urgent interference in this issue.

Awaiting your early favorable action, we remain.

Yours faithfully,

(Name)                              (Address)                                       (Signature)

Balachandran Chullikad          31/350, Cochin-24                               Sd/-
Br. Reny George TC.               02-0918, Kazhakoottam, TVM-82          Sd/-
Dr. Sebastin Paul,                   Ex-M.P. Cochin                                   Sd/-
Dr. M. S. Jayaprakash             Kollam                                               Sd/-
Prof. P. Koya                          Kozhicode                                      
Dr. Febeena Seethi                 Thiruvananthapuram                           Sd/-
Dr. P. Muraleedharan              Thiruvananthapuram                            Sd/-
Dr. Abdul Salam                     Thiruvananthapuram                            Sd/-
Prof. Shaji Kadamala              Pala, Kottayam                                    Sd/-
Sr. Anniee Punnoose              St. Roch’s Convent, TVM-8                     Sd/-
Mukundan C. Menon              Thiruvananthapuram                             Sd/-

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