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Thursday 8 December 2011

Rape allegations against a religious Godman and its implications

A very serious case has come in public notice where a disciple Sadhvi Chidarpita has lodged an FIR against BJP leader and former Union minister Swami Chinmayanand, accusing him of rape, illegal confinement, forcing her to undergo abortion twice and attempt to murder. Swami Chinmayanand is also a religious Guru and head of Mumukshu (meaning relieving the soul) Ashram in Hardwar. The victim told the police that she lived in the Mumukh Ashram for several years and after relentless abuse, decided to flee the premises. During her stay, she was allegedly raped by Chinmayannad. When she threatened to lodge a complaint against him for the crime, Chinmayanand tried to get her killed, the victim has told police. She said that she was too scared to open her mouth for the fear of consequences till she fled Chimayanand's ashram.

Chidarpita recently got married to B P Gautam, a journalist from Budaun in UP and only after his support, she could gather enough strength to register an FIR against a person who is certainly a powerful figure with whom she lived for years where he is supposed to have sexually exploited her due to her helplessness.  My wife Dr Nutan Thakur talked to both Chidarpita and Gautam assuring them of all possible support to them in their fight for justice. Chidarpita told her in details about the various ways in which Chinmayanand exploited her sexually, got her aborted twice against her own wishes, gave her false promises of marriage and also beat her very severely and brutally whenever she resisted against his illegal and immoral acts.  Our personal view is that this FIR needs to be investigated very seriously and honestly because it concerns an ex Home Minister of Union of India and because Swami Chinmayanand is also a religious Godman with a very large number of disciples, hence the matter acquires grave propositions. We also believe that if the accusation is proved true, the culprit must be punished very seriously for this alleged dirty act of sexually exploiting a young girl who had become her disciple with blind faith. We take this as a possible example of a much larger phenomenon existing in India where many false Godmen are involving in such dirty and criminal acts but many people are not able to resist because of their helplessness.

There are many questions being raised about the motive of Chidarpita and her husband Gautam in accusing Swami Chinmayanand including the long delay in filing the FIR and their alleged political ambitions. There is always a possibility of people making false allegations and accusations and we are not completely sure of all the facts. But what is more relevant is that someone came with these serious allegations regarding an influential religious Godman and this must be seriously enquired into to bring the real facts, because such incidents have much wider social and cultural ramifications. If at all these allegations are true, Chidarpita and her husband Gautam will emerge as true heroes of the society who risked everything for the sake of fighting against injustice and to bring an influential but false Godman before. If the allegations are wrong, that should mean severe action against these people.

My wife took a very long interview of both Chidarpita and her husband and from its narration, our personal opinion goes more in the favour of believing that they are correct in their allegations. But then this is only a personal opinion and truth can be found only after proper investigation. As Human Rights and Women Rights activists , we take it as a milestone case and await for the final results of allegations to come.

I present the interview that Nutan Thakur had with the husband-wife duo for my friends to form their own opinion to comment on this serious issue

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