Published: 21st September 2019
Chinmayanand case: Will the system be just to the law student rape survivor?
We talk to experts on women and legal issues about why the former minister's arrest needs to be sctutinised in detail
After Former Union Minister, Swami Chinmayanand was arrested on September 20 for being accused of raping a law student, women across India have engaged in a crucial conversation about safety in the light of how the case was managed. We spoke to a few experts in women rights, issues and legal action about the implications that the case will have for the future of women in the country.
Dr Shruti Kapoor, the Founder of Sayfty, an organisation which works to empower women against violence said, “The idea that scares us the most is that people in positions of power get such blatant special treatment. From the very beginning, the police did not not register the case on time and they treated the student like she was in the wrong. It is the greatest flaw in our government and its process endanger the people who are brave enough to come forward about such things.”
As an expert in cases of violence against women, Shruti emphasises that there is a need to investigate and arrest those found guilty regardless of their position. "There should be a protocol in place regardless of whether you are a Member of Parliament or a common man. The law should be the same for all. This is one area where we always falter. If you believe in a civil society, people’s positions should not come into play. All the necessary steps should be taken to ensure a proper investigation.”
Khabar Lahariya is an Indian newspaper published in various rural dialects in the country. Initially, a women-only publication, they focus on a rage of issues which are reported on a feminist perspective. Kavita Devi, Digital Head of the organisation says, “Social media media needs to be applauded for how much of the action it was responsible for. We were all hoping that history would not repeat itself. All these swamis need to go to jail before this becomes another Unnao.”
Fueled with the fear of complacency she continues, “They were so quick to charge a case against her for extortion. And they tried so hard to avoid calling it a rape case.” D Bhaskar from the Women Empowerment NGO in Bengaluru agrees, saying, “We appreciate the law student for represting the voices of people and women specifically. These people are punished only when more people come forward. But we still fear that these people wont do justice to this girl. How will women survive in a world where this could happen?”