Taking suo motu cognisance of the incident where a student of SS Law College in Shahjahanpur, Uttar Pradesh, went missing four days ago from her college hostel after she accused former Union minister and BJP leader Swami Chinmayanand of harassment, the National Commission for Women (NCW) on Wednesday issued a notice to the DGP of the state to investigate the matter as quickly as possible and ensure the safety and protection of the woman.
"The Commission has condemned the incident and expressed concern on the rise in crime targeted against women despite the enactment of the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2013. The Commission is committed to ensure the safety and security of women and will not tolerate any incident wherein the security of a woman is on threat and her life is in danger. Considering the gravity of the matter, the commission is taking Suo-Motu cognizance of this case and issued a notice to the DGP Uttar Pradesh to investigate this matter and send a detailed report to the commission. The Commission had urged DGP Uttar Pradesh to ensure the safety of the girl and her family and also make sure that the investigation is done very quickly," the statement said.
A group of Supreme Court lawyers had earlier filed a petition to the Chief Justice of India to take suo moto cognisance of the case. They said they don’t want another “Unnao case” to happen. Parents of the missing girl had filed a missing complaint with the police earlier, and have blamed college director and BJP leader, Swami Chinmayanand for it, as reported by ANI.
Priyanka Gandhi reacted to the same on Twitter, saying, "Not a single day goes by when the BJP govt can assure the women of their safety, and that if any incident happens you will get justice."
उत्तर प्रदेश में एक दिन भी ऐसा नहीं बीतता जिस दिन भाजपा सरकार महिलाओं को ये भरोसा दिलाने में कामयाब हो कि आप सुरक्षित हैं और अगर आपके साथ कोई घटना घटती है तो आपको न्याय मिलेगा।#EnoughIsEnoughhttps://t.co/Z4JSlisrJQ
— Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (@priyankagandhi) August 28, 2019
She continued, saying, "Did the woman who raised her voice against him disappear or was she forcibly made to disappear? No one knows what is going on with her. Till when will this go on? This seems like a repeat of the Unnao case in Uttar Pradesh. If a woman complains against a BJP minister, she is not even guaranteed her own safety, much less given justice."
"Only last year, the BJP government dropped the charges of rape against the accused. It is clear who the government is standing in support of. The women of UP are watching," she added.
पिछले ही साल आरोपी पर से बलात्कार का मुकदमा भाजपा सरकार ने वापस लिया था। बहुत साफ है सरकार किसके साथ खड़ी है।
— Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (@priyankagandhi) August 28, 2019
An FIR has been registered against former Union minister and BJP leader Swami Chinmayanand after a law student who alleged he had been harassing her went missing.
Chinmayanand has been booked under Section 364 (abduction) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code, the police said.
A video of the missing girl had gone viral on Facebook on 24 August in which she had alleged that a person from 'Sant Samaj' has destroyed the lives of many women and he has done the same to her. She also alleged that the person had also warned her that he would kill her and her parents. In the video, the girl appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath for her help.
“A big leader of the saint society, who has destroyed the lives of several girls, has been threatening me with life. I have all the evidence against him. I request Modiji and Yogiji to please help me. He has even threatened to kill my family. Only I know what I have been going through. Modiji please help me, he is a sanyasi and is threatening that the police, DM and everyone else is on his side and no one can harm him. I request you all for justice.” she is seen saying in the video.
“When any girl tries to take any action against him, he blatantly threatens them with murder, claiming he has links with all forces of law,” she added.
The parents of the girl said that their daughter went missing after her video accusing Chinmayanad went viral on social media. The family alleged that the BJP leader was responsible for the law student's disappearance. "If anything happens to our daughter, then the police and the state administration will be responsible for it," the girl's father said.
He has also alleged that he had been trying to reach her for many days. “My daughter never told me anything personally. She looked worried when she was home on Raksha Bandhan. She has been missing for four days. I have given a written complaint against college director Swami Chinmayanand, but no action has been taken yet,” he added.
Her mother told CNN-News18, “The last time she came home was on Raksha Bandhan. I asked her why her phone remained switched off so frequently. She said, ‘if my phone goes off for a longer duration then understand that I am in trouble. My phone will go off only when it is not in my hands’. My girl was going through a lot of pain and trouble but didn’t divulge much. She told me she was being sent to Nainital by her college administration.”
Meanwhile, Chinmayanand's lawyer Om Singh has alleged that the BJP leader had received a message on his mobile phone on 22 August from an unknown number demanding Rs 5 crore and threatening that if the money is not given, then they will release an explicit video of the leader.
'An FIR has also been lodged against unknown people for allegedly demanding the extortion', police said.
"On 22 August, Chinmayanand received a message demanding Rs 5 crore. An FIR against unknown persons was registered and we are investigating the matter. Her (the girl) father had alleged that she was abducted. An FIR has been lodged against Chinmayanand on his complaint," Shahjahanpur SP S Chanappa said.
Om Singh dismissed the charges made by the woman and her father, saying, "There is not an iota of truth in their claims." Singh, when contacted, said that Chinmayanand sent the screenshot to him, and he then took it to SP Shahjahanpur.
"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.
He also said that on the night of 24 August he went to Kotwali police station in Shahjahanpur to register an FIR.
"It was registered at around 2.25 am on 25 August. On 24 August, 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)," Singh claimed.
"The rest of my doubts were cleared when I came to know that the girl's father said that he feared for her life after seeing the video. My only contention is that a girl 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," Singh asked.
"Why can't she go to the SSP office or a nearby police station or even contact Dial-100 and lodge her complaint?", Singh asked.
"It is entirely a conspiracy to blackmail Swamiji and become a crorepati using shortcuts. When the idea did not work, then an effort was made to tarnish his image as a vendetta. There is not an iota of truth in the claims and allegations made by the girl," he said.
He said that the police were working to ensure the safe return of the girl and to arrest the person who allegedly threatened the BJP leader and demanded extortion.
The girl's father has been provided security cover, he said. The police have also taken a person into custody in connection with the extortion case.
With inputs from agencies.
Updated Date: Aug 28, 2019 16:06:08 IST