Arrested after rape allegations, BJP leader Chinmayanand to lose sainthood
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and former Union Minister, Chinmayanand, who was arrested on Friday, upon allegations of sexual harassment, is set to lose his sainthood. The Akhil Bhartiya Akhara Parishad (ABAP), the highest decision-making body of saints, is determined to expel the disgraced leader from the community. The 72-year-old politician has been accused of rape by a law student of his own institution.
The case dates back to last month, when the UP law student posted a video on social media, claiming harassment from a "big leader of saint community." Thereafter, she went missing. She was tracked to Rajasthan, one week later. Later, she appeared before the media and alleged that Chinmayanand raped her for a year. Meanwhile, Supreme Court ordered formation of SIT in the matter.
Terming Chinmaynand's deeds "shameful," ABAP President, Mahant Narendra Giri said that the body has decided to remove him from the saint community, following a meeting of the council on Saturday. Further, a formal meeting will be held in Haridwar to get the final approval from the general body, he informed. To note, Chinmayanand will remain ousted from the community, until he is acquitted.
"A formal meeting of Akhil Bhartiya Akhara Parishad will be held in Haridwar on October 10 and this decision will get the seal of approval from the general body," said the body president. "Chinmayanand has accepted his misdeeds and there could be nothing more shameful for the saint community. He will be externed until the day he is acquitted from the court," he added.
Presently, Chinmayanand is the Mahamandaleshwar of the Maha Nirvani Akhara. However, now, he will not only lose this position, but will also not be allowed to prefix the terms 'Sant' or 'Swami' to his name. Separately, Chinmayanand has also been a significant player in Ayodhya movement. He, along with Mahant Avaidyanath (teacher of UP CM Yogi Adityanath), formed the 'Ram Mandir Mukti Yagya Samiti.'
Almost a month after the grave allegations surfaced, Chinmayanand was finally arrested on Friday. He was sent to a 14-days judicial custody. As the woman raised concerns over the SIT's process, the latter said that a "media trial" won't influence the probe.