Since long many Godmen of different faiths have been accused of sexually abusing their followers, however, a look at recent turn of events reaffirms the notion that no matter what the religion is such people are hidden everywhere.
The trend that has caught our attention started with the arrest of Ram Rahim for raping his followers and within a few days, a Maulvi from Kashmir was accused of raping minor boys. Last week a priest was accused of raping a minor girl whose parents had left her with the priest for the prayers. And now, adding to the list of these fake godmen a Jain Muni from Vadodara has been accused of raping a student who had come to take his blessings.
According to the report by Ahmedabad Mirror, the medical examination of the 19-year-old survivor revealed that she was raped by the 45 YO Shantisagar Maharaj of the Digambar sect. The incident took place in Vadodara where the family had accepted Acharya Shantisagar as their Guru in 2017.
Ahmedabad Mirror quotes police as saying, “On October 1, the girl, her brother and parents had gone to seek his blessings. The Acharya allegedly convinced them to stay back for the chanting of mantras. Then he allegedly took the girl to another room, on the pretext of performing puja and raped her”.
The report further states that the girl who was initially afraid later opened up to her parents about the rape following which an FIR was registered on the 11th day. The medical examination was carried out which confirmed rape.
According to a report by Dainik Bhaskar, the muni has claimed that the relationship was consensual and they were in touch since last 5-6 months. He also said that he is being framed in the case.
He claimed that they established a consensual relationship on 1st October and it was “only” the first time that he was doing so.
Ahmedabad Mirror quoted the leader of Shakal Digambar Jain Samaj, Advocate R G Shah, as saying, “The complaint states the incident took place between 9.30 and 10.30 pm. But the muni doesn’t entertain visitors after 8.30pm. Also, why did the complainant stay quiet for all these days? This might be a ploy to defame the muni.”
This tactic of victim blaming by asking why the victim was silent for so long has been used since a long time by our patriarchal society.
When the doctor asked him if he was a saint why did he take such a step the muni hung his head in shame. A lot of people gathered to protest against the arrest but Jain Saint Tarun Sagar has told that such people have no place in Jain society. We are surprised that even after the rape has been confirmed people are protesting against his arrest. People need to understand that they need to stop making gods out of humans and condemning someone’s wrong act will only clean the society and not harm their religion. We hope a fair and unbiased probe is carried out in the case and justice is served to the victim.