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Guru and 40 other members of international yoga sect arrested in France

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The 41 people arrested this Tuesday are suspected of being linked to an international sect accused of numerous abuses under the guise of practicing yoga.

A total of 41 people were arrested Tuesday by the police in France, suspected of being linked to an international sect accused of numerous abuses under the guise of practicing yoga, we learned from a source close to the case, confirming information of Liberation.

Among those arrested is Gregorian Bivolaru, 71, the Romanian guru and founder of this controversial international yoga movement, said the source close to the investigation. Others “important officials» Suspected members of the sect in France have been arrested, she added.

These arrests took place in the Paris region and in the Alpes-Maritimes, added this source. Some 175 police officers were mobilized for this large-scale operation, coordinated by the OCRVP (Central Office for the Repression of Violence against Persons). During the arrests, 26 women, several of whom were under influence, were released, said the source close to the investigation.

“Mental manipulation” to “remove any notion of consent”

This movement, called the Movement for Spiritual Integration towards the Absolute (Misa), has many yoga schools and other branches, this source detailed. “It is difficult to quantify the number of followers“, but “it’s several hundred people“, she added.

A judicial investigation was opened by the Paris prosecutor’s office in July 2023, for abuse of weakness, kidnapping by an organized gang, rape and trafficking in human beings. At the end of July 2022, Miviludes (Interministerial Mission for Vigilance and the Fight against Sectarian Abuses) sent a report to the public prosecutor after being informed by the Human Rights League (LDH) of 12 reports from former members of the Misa movement, said a judicial source.

According to this source, the Misa movement, which became Atman during its expansion outside Romania, taught tantra yoga, with the aim of “conditioning victims to accept sexual relations via mental manipulation techniques aimed at removing any notion of consent“. This sect incited female victims to “to accept sexual relations with the leader of the group» and/or “engaging in paid pornographic practices in France and abroad“.

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