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Raped for 8 Years, Kerala Law Student Chops Off Godman's Penis; CM Backs Her

Neethu Reghukumar | CNN-News18

Updated: May 20, 2017, 6:13 PM IST
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Raped for 8 Years, Kerala Law Student Chops Off Godman's Penis; CM Backs Her
According to the police complaint, the accused, identified as Swamy Gangeshananda, a member of the Kollam-based Panmana Ashram, had been raping her for the last eight years. (TV Grab/CNN-News18)

Thiruvananthapuram: A law student in Kerala was forced to take the law into her own hands on Friday night to end an eight-year-old cycle of rape and abuse. The 23-year-old woman chopped off the penis of a 54-year-old self-styled godman who had allegedly been raping her since she was in Class 12.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan hailed the woman’s “brave step”. “It’s a good thing the girl did,” he said at a press conference.

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According to a police complaint filed by the woman, the accused, identified as Swamy Gangeshananda, a member of the Kollam-based Panmana Ashram, had been raping her at her home for the last eight years. The woman said he first raped her when she was 16 years old.

When the accused tried to again rape her at her home on Friday night, the woman grabbed a sharp object and chopped off his penis. She reportedly called the police herself.

The woman said she did not approach police because she thought Gangeshananda would get bail and attack other women. She wanted to make sure he could not target anyone in future.

The accused was rushed to the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College where an emergency surgery was performed. Hospital officials, however, said that 90% of his penis was cut off and was not in a position to be re-attached.

Police sources said the accused said in his statement that he mutilated himself.

"A 54-year-old man from Kollam was admitted at 12.39 am to the hospital on Saturday. His penis had been cut (90%) and there was no way it could be stitched back. Plastic surgeons who are urology experts in the hospital did emergency surgery to stop the blood loss and to enable him to pass urine," a statement by the hospital said.

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He has been booked under Section 376 (Rape) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act (POCSO). He has reportedly told the police that he had chopped off his penis himself.

In her statement, the rape survivor said her mother knew about the crime. Media reports said the mother has also been detained as she failed to report the case.

In the police complaint, the law student has said that her mother was also sexually abused by the accused. Her father suffered a paralysis attack a few years ago. They were followers of the ashram, local media reported.

Sources said the mother told investigators that the accused is a good person and could not have committed such a crime.

Gangeshananda would stay at their house whenever he visited Trivandrum. They had a separate room for him.

A senior police official told PTI that no case had been registered against the woman.

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In a statement, the Panmana Ashram, which was founded by social reformer Chattambi Swamikal, said, “The Swamy had left the ashram 15 years ago after completing his studies.”

Prameela Devi, member of the Kerala State Women's Commission, said she was proud of the woman. “Such an act by anyone especially when it comes under the guise of a religious tag, irrespective of the religion, is in no way acceptable, as such people should be role models to all,” Devi said.

Soon after the incident was reported, an old photo of state BJP president Kummanam Rajasekharan with the accused surfaced on social media. In a statement Rajasekharan said, “The accused has participated in sanyasi sammelans in the state. I have met almost all the sanyasis in the state. But this accused has no relationship with either the BJP or the NDA.”

(With inputs from News18 Kerala)

First Published: May 20, 2017, 10:04 AM IST
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