Saffron-clad ‘Rapist’ Gets Fitting Moksha is the major headline in the Kochi edition of today’s Times of India. The report is about one Swami who calls himself Gangesananda Theerthapadar. The Swami’s penis was cut off by a 23 year-old woman who claims that the ‘holy’ man had been raping her since she was fifteen years old. At first the Swami told the doctors that he had cut off his penis since it was an “unwanted” organ (thus justifying the ‘moksha’ in TOI’s headline). Eventually he had to admit the truth when questioned by the police. The woman had already confessed to the police.
|Gangesananda Theerthapadar with Kummanam Rajasekharan, President of Kerala BJP|
Most people in Kerala seem to be happy with what the woman did if we go by the panel discussions that took place on Malayalam news channels yesterday. A lawyer justified the deed saying that self-defence, defence of one’s honour, justifies certain violence. Even the Chief Minister of Kerala, Mr Pinaray Vijayan, approved of the woman’s valour.
I don’t know what the girl’s fate will be. A case has already been registered against her. Given the way the law works in India, anything can happen. Even if she is acquitted the Right wing, which is gaining more and more power of all sorts after Mr Modi became the Prime Minister, may not make it easy for her to live. Unlike the BJP leaders and people like Mata Amritanandamayi who have been given high category security in the last few months, the woman is not going to get any assistance from the government.
Today governments and criminals work in tandem especially if the criminals wear some religious habits. Recently a Catholic priest was arrested in Kerala for “impregnating” (the word used in the English media consistently in those days) a minor girl. Now the priest is in jail but there are many people (like the editor of Pravasishabdam, an online Malayalam journal) who argue that the Church will soon arrive at an out-of-court settlement and the priest will be free.
The political atmosphere in the country is so vitiated that anyone can go scot-free after committing any crime provided he has the backing of some powerful religious sect. I remember how the school where I worked until two years ago in Delhi was closed down by a godman who too enjoys high category security. Some of us staff members approached a minister belonging to AAP, the political party that came to power claiming to provide corruption-free governance. We were told that though what the godman did was totally wrong (not only closing down a school but also encroaching on acres and acres of reserved forest lands) the government couldn’t do anything because he had five lakh devotees in Delhi alone. This godman’s thugs beat up some staff members on the roads, got one arrested by fabricating a case of assaulting women, and perpetrated many other heinous crimes with total impunity. Even the policemen who knew the truth would not dare to do what was right.
Such is the politico-legal system in the country. Look at what is happening in the many North Indian states where innocent people are being tortured and even killed by religious vigilantes who are in fact stark criminals. Criminals have put on religious robes in order to escape the legal clutches.
People know the situation. That’s why they commend the girl who chopped off the organ which the Swami described as “unwanted” or “useless.” There are many ‘unwanted’ attachments that the criminal religious people of India carry nowadays. I hope more and more people gather the courage to chop off those ‘unwanted’ attachments so that religion will become what it really should be: holy, without unholy attachments.