Updated: August 30, 2019 11:08:41 am
Uttar Pradesh police on Wednesday claimed that the student who went missing after alleging harassment by BJP leader Swami Chinmayanand has been spotted at a Delhi hotel. But she had already left the hotel when a police team reached there, they said.
The post-graduate student has been missing at least since Saturday, when a video clip surfaced in which she accused “a senior leader of the sant community” of harassing and threatening to kill her. She did not directly name him.
Her father alleged in a police complaint on Tuesday that she and other girls at a college run by Chinmayanand’s ashram were sexually harassed by the BJP leader. A former Union minister, Chinmayanand faced similar accusations in 2011 and was booked for raping a woman who stayed at his ashram.
With the student still missing, the National Commission for Women and Uttar Pradesh’s women commission have expressed concern. On Twitter, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said the episode appeared to be a “repetition” of the Unnao case, in which BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar, now expelled from the party, was accused of raping a minor. Chinmayanand as booked on Tuesday under the Indian Penal Code sections related to abduction for murder and intimidation. His lawyer, however, has alleged that there is an attempt to blackmail him for Rs 5 crore.
“The girl whohad levelled charges of abduction against Chinmayanand was last seen in a hotel in Dwarka in south-west Delhi on August 23,” Additional Director General of Police (Bareilly zone) Avinash Chandra told PTI on Wednesday.
When the police team reached the hotel, it found that the woman had already left the place, he said. The ADG said a man is seen with her in the CCTV footage with the police.
Apparently referring to the same footage shown to him, the student’s father told a tv channel that it appeared “suspicious”. He told PTI that after reports that their daughter had gone missing, her mother visited her hostel but found her room locked. “My wife then spoke to Chinmayanand over the phone and he told her that he is in Haridwar and would look for the girl on his return. After this, his phone was switched off,” the father said. “On August 24, a call came from an unknown number in Delhi, and my daughter said she is fine.
Later, her mother called her up on the same number, but she was told by the hotel staff that a girl had come in a white car. She used that number as her mobile balance had exhausted,” he said.
In November 2011, Chinmayanand was booked for allegedly raping a woman who had spent several years at his ashram.
In the FIR lodged by that women’s father, Chinmayanand, who has been an MP three times, was accused of confining her at an ashram in Haridwar. The BJP leader moved the high court, which stayed his arrest. The case has been pending since then. Last year, the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh sought to withdraw the case. In the video which surfaced on social media on August 24, the missing 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) Modi ji and (UP Chief Minister)Yogi ji is please help me. He has threatened to kill my family as well,” she is heard saying in the clip, which also shows her breaking down.
Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Wednesday expressed concern over the safety of women in the state. “In Uttar Pradesh, this matter appears to be repetition of the Unnao case. If woman complains against a BJP leader, then she is not guaranteed justice, even her own safety is not guaranteed,” Priyanka Gandhi said in a tweet in Hindi with the hashtag ‘EnoughIsEnough’.
“Last year, the BJP government had withdrawn a rape case against the accused (Chinmayanand). It’s clear where the government stands.UP’s girls a rewatching,” Gandhi said.
But Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s media advisor asked the Congress general secretarynot to create “confusion” and said the police have taken all necessary steps in this case.
The National Commission for Women sent a notice to the Uttar Pradesh Police, asking it to quickly probe the allegations levelled by the student and submit a report.
It also urged the Uttar Pradesh Director General of Police to ensure the safety of the woman and her family.
The Uttar Pradesh Commission for Women too sought a report from the Shahjahanpur district administration on her disappearance.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.