Author's Diction~Vipin Behari Goyal: Mortal Sins By Immortal Men

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Mortal Sins By Immortal Men

Why Bapu Asaram is Still Behind Bars?


                                                                                     Bapu by Newswala



The bureaucracy, the legislature and Judiciary of any country when determines to harass any citizen of that country, they always succeed by making a mountain of a molehill. The story of religious head Bapuji is almost similar. It was pre decided to harass him and then a case was fabricated. Bapu like an innocent child walked into a trap. Wilbur Smith in his adventure stories of South Africa has described a similar trap used by Zulu tribes.

Enough has been written about the case. The details of the incident, efforts made by the police to prove the charges and appearance of national level advocate to defend Bapu, many petitions by a defense lawyer, violent demonstration of followers and disciples have remained the headlines of the newspapers for long. But nothing seems to be working. Every time Bapu was brought to court, huge mass gathered around Jail and Court, and Newspapers flashed pictures of Bapu, sometime gloomy and pleading mercy, sometime jovial and fully confident that nothing bad could happen to him.

Bapu is accused of sexually molesting a minor girl. That girl was a student of one of the many charity institutions run by Bapu and his follower. The girl was brought to the private chamber of Bapu for cure by tantric rituals. Her parents who were staunch follower of Bapu were sitting outside. They had given implied consent for treatment. Read more about such tantric rituals in Maya.

All religious institutions all over the world are accused of corruption from time to time. Often we hear the same thing about churches. The priest and clergy are accused of the same crimes as levied against various Gurus and Mahant (Head of a sect). If the Government or King runs a campaign to clear the corruption of all religious institutions by enacting laws and constituting commissions for all religious bodies, it could be appreciated by the common man. But when some isolated people are targeted  and made to suffer, the society does not approve of it. The ruling party or Kings have always supported a particular religion or sect to gain political strength. Politics is like a prostitute, it has no character. The political ideology becomes secondary when the leader of ruling party wants to weaken the radical forces within his own party. The cost is the life of a scapegoat and that scapegoat is Bapuji.

Andrew Greeley was an American Roman Catholic priest. He wrote many novels exposing the corruption in churches. He said his books are ”less erotic than the Song of Songs in the scriptures."[He insisted that from what they heard in confession from women, priests probably knew more about marriage than most married men; and he drew on this knowledge to write a marital advice book he called Sexual Intimacy (1988). The Priestly Sins (2004), a novel about a young priest who is exiled to an insane asylum and then to an academic life because he reports abuse that he has witnessed. Bollywood movie SINS was inspired by a true incident. The Catholic Priest of a small village in Kerala exploits a young student of Nursing College to quench his lust. The movie was banned to appease the Christian community and due to explicit scenes.

Louise Kretzschmar  in her paper presented in Church Ethics Commission has raised the issue that “Do religious leaders teach the people in power- be it political, business or religious, to resist the temptation  of greed, corruption and selfish behavior.

All religious heads are human being though they are expected to behave as superhuman. There is nothing wrong with it. How a religious head would be different from a common man, if he too falls to temptation.

The protection of children from sexual offenses (POCSO) Act 2012 is elaborate act and covers all aspects. The said Act defines a child as any person below eighteen years of age, and defines different forms of sexual abuse, including penetrative and non-penetrative assault, as well as sexual harassment and pornography, and deems a sexual assault to be “aggravated” under certain circumstances, such as when the abused child is mentally ill or when the abuse is committed by a person in a position of trust or authority vi's-à-is the child, like a family member, police officer, teacher, or doctor. Read about legitimate violation of the act in "The Old Man".  

The birth certificate is issued by local bodies like Municipal Corporation in urban areas and Gram Panchayat in rural areas. Since two out of five births takes place at home the medical certificate is not mandatory to obtain a birth certificate. Some modern scientific techniques must be adopted to ascertain the age of victim. The birth certificate is not authentic proof of age in this country.

According to a report Devdasi System is still prevalent in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana provinces of India. It may be prevalent in other state also. It is socially accepted exploitation system of minor girls by priests in the name of religion. Are we able to stop that? Does the law of the land applies on them? Or they have some different set of rules.

The Bapu did not rape the girl. Medical Examination has proved that. If properly argued the bail is imminent in this case.

© Vipin Behari Goyal
Advocate, Rajasthan High Court, Jodhpur, India