The Akhil Bhartiya Akhara Parishad (ABAP), the highest decision making body of saints, is all set to extern former Union Minister and BJP leader Swami Chinmayanand, who was arrested on Friday, in connection with the alleged sexual harassment of a UP law student. He was sent to 14-day judicial custody by a local court in Shahjahanpur.
Swami Chinmayanand, the Mahamandaleshwar of the Maha Nirvani Akhara was arrested from his Mumuksha Ashram in Shahjahanpur by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the rape charges against him.
After a meeting of the saint council, ABAP president, Mahant Narendra Giri on Saturday said that it had been decided to banish Chinmayanand from the saint community.
Swami Chinmayanand will not be able to prefix ‘Sant’ or ‘Swami’ to his name after this decision comes in place.
“A formal meeting of the Akhilesh Bhartiya Akhara Parishad will be held in Haridwar on October 10 and this decision will get the seal of approval from the general body,” Giri said.
Giri further said, “Chinmayanand has accepted his misdeeds and there could be nothing more shameful for the saint community. He will be externed until the day he is exonerated from the court.”
The 73 year old Chinmayanand was the founder of ‘Ram Mandir Mukti Yagya Samiti’ along with Mahant Avaidyanath (guru of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath) and played a key role in the Ayodhya movement. Many other saints like Ramvilas Vedanti and Ramchandra Paramhans also joined the movement afterwards. He was also given the role of the convener of the Ram Janambhoomi Andoloan Sangharsh Samiti in January, 1986.
His arrest came after a complaint by the 23-year-old law student of the Swami Shukdevan and Law College student in Shahjahanpur, who had accused Chinmayanand of blackmail and rape by posting a video message on the social media on August 23.
The Supreme Court, which heard the girl in a closed hearing, had directed the Uttar Pradesh government to constitute a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe into the allegations made against Swami Chinmayanand.
Chinmayanand is a three-time Lok Sabha MP and was a minister of state in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government. In 2011, he was accused of rape by an inmate of his ashram. When she got pregnant, the BJP leader allegedly forced her to have an abortion.