Woman who cut off man’s genitals in Kerala gets support, police to drop charges
Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan also lauded her, saying it was “a courageous step”, and the government would do everything to support her.Updated: May 21, 2017 23:09 IST
Kerala police decided to drop charges against the 23-year-old woman who gashed the genitals of a self-proclaimed godman when he tried to sexually assault her on Friday, as support poured in from various quarters.
Initially, police planned to charge the woman, a final year law student, under sections of self-defence, but dropped the idea when women’s bodies raised their voice, saying this will put more pressure on the victim.
A local court has remanded the accused in judicial custody till June 3. Since he is not fully recovered he will be confined to a cell in Thiruvananthapuram medical college hospital for some more days.
Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan also lauded her, saying it was “a courageous step”, and the government would do everything to support her.
Legal experts said a case against the sexual abuse victim—she told the police that the godman Ganeshananda Theerthapada alias Srihari sexually exploited her since class 10—who resorted to action in self-defence, won’t stand much in a court of law.
The state women’s commission has pledged all support to her. Commission member Prameela Devi said the young woman was forced to take such an extreme step.
“The incident is a big warning to all sexual predators,” said Congress leader Bindhu Krishna.
The woman had attacked the godman around 11.30 pm on Friday when he forced oral sex at knife point at her house in Thiruvananthapuram Pettah. She snatched the knife and severed his penis and ran out of the house.
She then called the police control room and said she feared he would kill her. Soon police shifted him to Thiruvananthapuram medical college hospital. Initially there were reports that she hid a knife below her pillow and attacked the godman, but police later corrected it.
Admitted in serious condition, plastic surgeons and urology specialists did two surgeries on him to check blood loss and created a temporary urine tract.
When he was admitted, hospital sources said, his penis was almost severed.
To escape from the clutches of law, he initially told the police that he cut his penis himself as an act of penance but later admitted that the woman had attacked him.
The attack on Srihari has put self-styled godmen in the glare again, with police fearing more attacks on them.
When Santhosh Madhavan alias Amritha Chaitanya, a self-styled saffron-clad godman was arrested in 2008 for assaulting many minor girls, several attacks were reported against godmen in the state. He was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2009.
The incident has brought embarrassment to the BJP as some TV channels flashed videos of Srihari sitting with party state president Kummanam Rajasekharan. The accused was also in the forefront of many agitations involving fringe Hindu outfits.
“I attended many functions with sanyasis. It doesn’t mean all of them are connected with BJP. We favour strong action against him,” Rajasekharan said, distancing BJP from the crime.
Police said Srihari turned to spirituality when his small-time hotel business flopped. Donning the garb of an ascetic, he joined the Panmana ashram in Kollam (south Kerala), founded by social reformer Chattambi Swami.
But the ashram has disowned him, saying he left the sect ten years ago and it has no knowledge about his present dispensation. It said the identify card he was carrying was fake.
The woman said Srihari came in contact with her family after her father, a retired government employee, suffered a stroke and was confined to bed. He exploited the family’s insecurity and emotional trauma and made them bend to his will.
He started making sexual advances when she was in class 10. She was afraid of telling anybody then, but gathered courage when she started learning law.
First Published: May 21, 2017 10:13 IST