Swami Chinmayanand: Once powerful politician, isolated man now
Once a powerful politician, who shared dais with stalwarts of the Ram temple movement and top politicians, Swami Chinmayanand is now completely isolated even among his saffron-clad peers.
Chief minister Yogi Adityanath has apparently given a free hand to the cops to investigate the allegations of sexual harassment against Chinmayanand by a law student after contents of video clips allegedly relating to the case were shared with him.
The seers of Ayodhya with whom Chinmayanand had rubbed shoulders during the temple movement in the 1990s, have either disapproved of his conduct or are maintaining a studied silence. None of them have come forward in support of him.
In April 2018, the chief minister had ordered withdrawal of a somewhat a similar case lodged against Chinmayanand by a disciple and manager of Mumukshu Ashram owned by him. However, the chief judicial magistrate, district court, Shahjahanpur, had stalled the withdrawal proceedings after objections from the victim.
The manager of the Mumukshu Ashram, run by Chinmayanand, had filed an FIR against him on November 30, 2011, alleging that she was held captive, raped and assaulted for several years.
However, when apprised about contents of Chinmayanand’s controversial ‘massage video’, Yogi disapproved of the conduct and gave the authorities a free hand to probe the matter, says a senior government official.
Chinmayanand has been close to seers of Ayodhya. He often visits the temple town.
Disapproving of Chinmayanand’s conduct, Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, head of the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas, who also heads the all-powerful Mani Ram Das Chavni Peeth, said: “Seers must be above all controversies. They must make sure that their conduct is non-controversial.”
“Not only for their followers, but for people from all walks of life, seers set an example of idolism and good conduct. This image must not be shattered,” said Nritya Gopal Das.
Mahant Kamal Nayan Das, another prominent saint of the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas, also disapproved of any misconduct by seers.
Without commenting on Chinmayanand, Kamal Nayan Das said: “Those found guilty must be punished.”
However, when seers openly expressed their concern over the Chinmayanand issue, politicians like Vinay Katiyar, who was member of the 10th, 11th and 13th Lok Sabha from Faizabad and had played a prominent role in the Ram temple movement of the BJP in 1990s, refused to comment on the controversy.
“I don’t have anything to say on the issue,” said Katiyar when asked to comment on the Chinmayanand controversy.
Raju Das, priest at the historic Hanuman Garhi temple, Ayodhya, was more vocal in criticising Chinmayanand.
“Proper inquiry must be conducted to reveal the facts. If Swami Chinmayanand is found guilty then stern punishment must be given to him that could prove as a deterrent for seers to commit such a crime,” said Raju Das.
Champat Rai, vice president of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), evaded the question on the ongoing controversy.
“I do not comment on anyone’s life. Only those who are aware of the facts (of the Chinmayanand controversy) must comment on the issue,” Rai said.
Seers were more forthcoming when asked to comment on the Chinmayanand controversy. However, politicians refrained from commenting on the issue.