Twenty-four years after Lorena Bobbit chopped off her husband's genitals in the US, a similar incident is adorning the centre stage in Kerala. The bobbitisation of a godman by a law student, who was reportedly exasperated by relentless sexual harassment from the time she was a teenager, has made international headlines. And even this incident has been twisted and tweaked to spark off political debates.
The bizarre revenge took place Friday night when the 54-year-old godman allegedly attempted to rape her. The woman admitted to striking the blow. She herself informed the police who took him to the hospital and booked him for rape. According to the police, the self-proclaimed godman, Gangesananda Theerthapada aka Hari Swami, was close to the woman's family and used to stay with them whenever he visited Thiruvananthapuram. The shocking revelation was that he had allegedly been sexually assaulting the girl since she was in Class 10.
Soon politicking started. The first salvo was about the Swami’s alleged Sangh Parivar links and his role in the Hindu Aikya Vedi. BJP state president Kummanam Rajasekharan was quick to admit the acquaintance but said his party will not interfere or attempt to protect the guilty. Trolls made merry. By and large public opinion was laudatory. “Way to go,” screamed some activists. The state chief minister himself lauded the girl’s action. Congress MP Shashi Tharoor sounded a word of caution. “We need a society where justice prevails, not one where every individual seeks it with a knife in her hand,” he tweeted.
What was lost in all the hullabaloo was the silent suffering the girl endured for nearly seven years. If the girl’s mother was in the know as reported by a few quarters she too should be prosecuted. The state government and police need to address this issue proactively as there could be many other young women who are not even safe at home.