Things are indeed topsy-turvy in Uttar Pradesh. A rape survivor is in jail while the alleged rapist, a former Union minister, is in hospital, ostensibly because he’s too ill to be in judicial custody. Doctors may have a different medical opinion about Swami Chinmayanand, but he enjoys the privileges of being given the maximum leeway by the Yogi Adityanath government. The case took a startling turn with the police taking the alleged extortionists, including the rape survivor who is a law student and her three friends, into custody saying they had confessed. The charges were brought against the rape survivor on the strength of a complaint, not by Chinmayanand but by others against the alleged blackmailers. This is the state of affairs in India’s biggest state, which sends the most MPs to Parliament.
The string of episodes in the Chinmayanand saga would have made an intriguing plot for a Kafkaesque novel or film screenplay if not for the original sin of rape committed in the real world by another person in a position of influence. How the establishment sprang to shield him after the details were revealed doesn’t surprise us because of the state where the incidents took place. UP has a history of governments being at the beck and call of ruling politicians, caged parrots aplenty. The politician in seen as a bridge between the BJP and its supporters with a host of schools and colleges, while heading an akhara. Only a Supreme Court-monitored inquiry might bring out all the facts. Rape is rape, regardless of extortion after it, and if guilty the swami must even hang by the new punishments possible in the laws against rapists.