Lucknow: A young woman from Shahjahanpur, Uttar Pradesh, has accused former Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Swami Chinmayanand of sexually harassing several students in a video posted on social media.
The woman, a law student in a private college run by Chinmayanand’s educational trust, has been missing for the last three days, and her parents allege no FIR has been lodged against the senior BJP leader despite several complaints.
Shahjahanpur: Parents of a missing student of SS Law College have filed a missing complaint with the police, and have blamed college director & BJP leader, Swami Chinmayanand for it. pic.twitter.com/EA5XTnMUUd
— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) August 27, 2019
The father of the missing woman has filed a complaint with the SHO of Kotwali police station, mentioning the serious allegations made against Chinmayanand, the head of the woman’s college, and that she has been missing since the video went viral on social media.
In the video, the student can be seen crying and appealing to PM Narendra Modi and UP CM Yogi Adityanath for their intervention.
The father’s complaint has also alleged that Chinmayanand had threatened her by saying the district magistrate and other officials are in his pocket, and nothing will happen to him despite complaints.
Speaking to the media, UP’s Director General of Police O.P. Singh said the senior superintendent of the area has been instructed to thoroughly investigate the matter and efforts are on to trace the student.
‘Masquerading as a saint’
In the video, the woman, who teaches in a computer lab while also pursuing her LL.M. degree, has not referred to Chinmayanand by name, choosing instead to call him the college “prabandhak” or manager.
She accuses him of masquerading as a saint and ruining the lives of several students, and says she has evidence against him, which is why she is requesting the PM and the CM to help her out.
“She has been missing for three days and her mobile phone is also switched off,” the woman’s father told ThePrint. “When we last talked to her, she was a bit disconcerted. She never said anything like that, but after what has been posted on her Facebook page, we suspect Swami Chinmayanand’s involvement. They are quite powerful persons and they can go to any extent.”
Chinmayanand himself has not given a formal response despite several attempts to contact him. However, his advocate Om Singh has filed a counter-FIR alleging blackmail.
Singh has submitted that Chinmayanand received a demand for Rs 5 crore via WhatsApp, with the sender also threatening he/she has a video that will be posted on the internet to spoil the politician’s image. A case against unknown persons has been lodged in the Kotwali police station on the basis of the counter-FIR.
“An effort is being made to create an atmosphere of fear and defame the educational institution,” Singh told ThePrint.
Who is Swami Chinmayanand?
A resident of UP’s Gonda district, Chinmayanand is a former three-time BJP MP, having represented Jaunpur, Badaun and Machhlishahr. He was MoS Home Affairs in Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s government between 1999 and 2004.
On 25 February 2019, UP CM Yogi Adityanath had visited Shahjahanpur and participated in a Mumukshu Yuva Mahotsav organised by Chinmayanand’s ashram.
Chinmayanand was accused of rape and kidnapping by a woman residing in his ashram in 2011. But in 2018, Adityanath’s BJP government decided to withdraw the cases.