Law student says Chinmayanand destroyed many girls’ lives, upright probe needed
In an August 24 video that went viral, a law student from the SS Law College in UP’s Shahjahanpur district had levelled sexual harassment charges against BJP leader and former Union minister Swami Chinmayanand, following which the state police booked him for kidnapping and criminal intimidation. But on Monday the student made more serious allegations, that Chinmayanand had raped and physically exploited her for a whole year. This case comes on the heels of the Kuldeep Singh Sengar rape and murder case. Chinmayanand claims the accusations are extortionary and he is being “targeted” like Sengar.
It will be remembered that the Unnao case proceeded ‘cold’ in UP for two years, during which period not a single trial was initiated, even as the rape survivor’s father died in custody, and then both she and her lawyer were critically injured and two of her aunts killed in a suspicious road accident. It is against this backdrop that the Supreme Court has become interested in the safety of the law student and her family, directing that she be allowed to transfer to a different university as SS Law College is run by Chinmayanand, and also directing the setting up of a special investigation team by the UP government to look into the charges levelled by her.
But the lesson from the Unnao case is that, it may take a Supreme Court monitored investigation to ensure that proceedings are not stacked in favour of Chinmayanand in a state where he is a powerful politician, running several ashrams and colleges – and to ensure that the law student gets a fair hearing. Especially as in her accounting, “there are many girls whose lives have been destroyed” by the accused. In the final analysis, stringent anti-rape laws cannot go far without an independent police.