After Unnao, UP student alleges harassment by former BJP minister

After Unnao, student posts harassment video, former BJP minister booked in UP
BJP leader Swami Chinmayanand

Shahjahanpur: After the Unnao rape case in which BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar is in the dock, yet another case of harassment by a former Union minister and BJP leader has come to light in Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday.

According to media and news agency reports, the cops in Shahjahanpur district of Uttar Pradesh have filed an FIR against former minister Swami Chinmayanand after a post-graduate student went missing following her allegation in a video clip that he had been harassing her.

Her father has also filed a complaint, alleging that the BJP leader had sexually abused her. However, Chinmayanand's lawyer denied the allegation stating that it was a "conspiracy" to blackmail the former minister.

According to police, the BJP leader has been booked under sections 364 (kidnapping) and 506 (criminal intimidation).

Before she went missing, the post-graduate student of a college run by Chinmayanand's Mumukshu ashram posted a video clip in which she claimed she was under threat from a leader of the sant community. She did not name Chinmayanand in the video. Also, she did not specify what kind of harassment she faced.

However, the woman's father on Tuesday alleged that she went missing following sexual harassment by the 72-year-old BJP leader. He also claimed in the complaint that Chinmayanand and "some others" had sexually abused his daughter and some other students.

Chinmayanand is a three-time Lok Sabha MP and was a minister of state in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government. In 2011, he was accused of rape by an inmate of his ashram.

His lawyer Om Singh told PTI that the leader was being blackmailed and had received a WhatsApp message demanding Rs 5 crore. He said an FIR was lodged over this on August 25.

In the video, which went viral on social media on August 24, the woman alleged, "A senior leader of the sant community, who has already destroyed the lives of many girls, is now threatening to kill me."

"My request to (Prime Minister Narendra) Modiji and (UP Chief Minister) Yogiji is please help me. He has threatened to kill my family as well. Only I know how I am surviving now. Modiji please help me. That 'sanyasi' has the police and the DM in his pocket, and threatens that no one can do anything for me. However, I have evidence against him, and my request is please help me in getting justice," she said in the video.

The BJP leader's lawyer told PTI: "On August 22, Swami Chinmayanand got a WhatsApp message on his phone from an unknown number. The message said that if you do not give Rs 5 crore by this evening, then I will make videos viral on news channels. And do not try to act smart, as I have nothing to lose, but your reputation will be lost. Hence, make arrangements to give Rs 5 crore."

"The police took cognisance of it, and started its job. I was of the view that media should be made aware of this issue, but the police told me not to do so, as the matter seemed to be big and there was a possibility of it being a racket. (The police said) if you go public with it, then the racketeers may become alert, and it will be rather difficult to arrest them," he said.

The lawyer also said that on the night of August 24, he went to Kotwali police station in Shahjahanpur to register an FIR.

"It was registered at around 2:25am on August 25. On August 24 itself, the video of the girl had gone viral. Initially, I thought a big racket was involved. But after seeing the girl and the video, I felt that the WhatsApp threat and the video could be related, as a direct threat was made (to us)," he claimed.

"The rest of my doubts were cleared when I came to know that the woman's father said that he feared for her life after seeing the video. My only contention is that a woman who is using a mobile phone, moving in a car, making her own videos and uploading them on various social networking websites, how can she be kidnapped," he asked.

Why can't she go to the SSP office or a nearby police station or even contact Dial-100 and lodge her complaint, the lawyer asked.

In Unnao case, a woman belonging to Makhi police station area in UP had alleged that Kuldeep Singh Sengar Sengar, four-time MLA who represents Bangermau in the UP assembly, raped her teenaged daughter at his home in 2017.

The case had come to light after the victim allegedly attempted self-immolation outside Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's residence.

When the kin of the victim complained, her father was booked by the police under the Arms Act on April 3, 2018, and put in jail after two days. Last year, the father of the rape victim had died in the prison where he was kept on alleged false charges under the Arms Act. He was allegedly beaten up by the brother of the MLA and his aides while in prison.

The case again hit headlines this year when a truck rammed the rape survivor's car, leaving her seriously injured.

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