Se­ri­ous Charges

Law stu­dent says Chinmayana­nd de­stroyed many girls’ lives, up­right probe needed

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - An Epiphany Of Ideas -

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.

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