Photo credit bbc.com
Prayagraj (IANS) Former Union Minister and BJP leader Chinmayanand, who was arrested on Friday on charges of intimidation and sexual harassment of a law student, is now facing more trouble from his peers.
The Akhil Bhartiya Akhara Parishad (ABAP), the highest decision making body of saints, is all set to extern Chinmayanand from the community.
ABAP president, Mahant Narendra Giri, said after a meeting of the council on Saturday that it had been decided to extern Chinmayanand from the saint community.
"A formal meeting of the Akhilesh Bhartiya Akhara Parishad will be held in Haridwar on October 10 and this decision will get the seal of approval from the general body," he said.
Mahant Narendra Giri further said, "Chinmayanand has accepted his misdeeds and there could be nothing more shameful for the saint community. He will be externed until the day he is exonerated from the court."
Chinmayanand is presently the Mahamandaleshwar of the Maha Nirvani Akhara.
The 73-year-old religious-cum-politician leader will now lose this position too, if he gets thrown out of the saint community and will not be able to prefix 'Sant' or 'Swami' to his name.
Chinmayanand has also been a key player in the Ayodhya movement.
He participated in the Ram temple movement and was a frequent visitor to Ayodhya.
Chinmayanand, along with Mahant Avaidyanath (guru of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath), formed the 'Ram Mandir Mukti Yagya Samiti' . Other saints like Ramvilas Vedanti and Ramchandra Paramhans also joined the movement afterward.
He also became the convener of the Ram Janambhoomi Andoloan Sangharsh Samiti on January 19, 1986.
Chinmayanand was arrested from his Mumukshu Ashram in Shahjahanpur on Friday and sent to 14-day judicial custody after a month-long drama that began with a video posted on the social media by the alleged victim about sexual harassment by him.
In 2011, Chinmayanand was also accused of rape by an inmate of his ashram, who claimed that he had sexually exploited her on several occasions. She lodged an FIR in this connection but no action was taken against Chinmayanand, mainly because of the political clout he enjoys.