Last month, a 23-year-old woman from Kerala grabbed headlines for cutting off the genitals of a "swami" who had allegedly raped her for several years. At the time, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had called her "courageous."
Now, the law student has gone back on her allegation against Gangeshananda Theerthapada, alias Hariswami, a member of Panmana Ashram in Kerala's Kollam, and alleged that the police and judiciary have tried to frame the 54-year-old man.
In a letter to Ajith Kumar, the swami's defence lawyer, the woman wrote, "There has been no form of sexual harassment by the swamiji towards me. Neither when I was a minor or when I turned 18. The accusation of swamiji sexually harassing me at 16 and 17 years is false and an addition made among the other additions by police people."
In the letter, the woman said that the swami "considered, cared, and loved" for her as a kid and she "loved him back." "He was the one who motivated me to join the LLB course and supported me in my studies. There had been no form of sexual harassment from swamiji towards me, neither when I was a minor nor after I turned 18 years," she wrote.
She called the swami "a very good and kind person who was and is a member of our family in which he holds the position of the head."
NDTV reported that the woman has accused the police of forcing her to agree to their "made up" version. The woman has also said that she does not know read Malayalam and so she did not understand the police statements. The News Minutereported that the woman has also alleged that she was forced to agree to the statement which said that her mother was in a relationship with the swami.
How Did The Swami Lose His Penis?
Last month, Thiruvananthapuram Medical College, where the Swami was rushed for surgery, had said, "A 54-year-old man from Kollam was admitted at 12.39am [19:09 GMT] to the hospital on Saturday. His penis had been cut (90%) and was hanging precariously. There was no way it could be stitched back."
In excerpts of the letter carried by The News Minute, however, it becomes increasingly unclear how and why the Swami ended up getting bobbitised.
The woman has alleged that it was a plot by a man named Ayyapadas who turned her against the Swami by "accusing swamiji of looting money from my parents and making me believe that he is taking our documents like salary certificate of my father to loot us indirectly."
"He (Ayyappadas) had asked me to go near swamiji and cut off his penis with a knife he gave me few days back which would take the incident to another form. I went near swamiji but fortunately or unfortunately I could not act as per the instructions given to me which was his plan along with the two others," she wrote.
The News Minutereported that the woman had given a different version of events to Ajith Kumar, the defence advocate, who has released an audio of the conversation. "I was sitting next to him, he was very tired. I was in a trance, as I had been told to bobbitise him," she said.
Then, according to The News Minute, the woman said that she did not know which body part she had chopped in the dark. "I was surprised when they said that. I wasn't even sure which part of his body I had attacked. It was dark," she said.
Later in the audio, however, the woman said that she was holding the swami's penis.
It is also significant that the swami's semen was found on her clothes. In the audio, the woman said, "The semen was in my hands and I put it on my clothes. I did not do it to create evidence. It fell on my hands and so I smeared on my clothes."
The local police believe that the woman is under pressure to change her story. The New Indian Expressreported that the Crime Branch is likely to take over the investigation from the city police.
Meanwhile, the police have approached a court in Thiruvananthapuram seeking permission to conduct a lie detector on the woman, The Press Trust of Indiareported. "Since the woman is changing her statements and it will affect the investigation, we have to have a scientific investigation so that truth will come out," City Police Commissioner, G Sparjan Kumar told PTI.
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