What happens when the representatives of God are caught with misdemeanours and sexual misconduct. It leaves the common person wondering what to believe or disbelief?
The recent case of the Dalai Lama, in a public gathering, held a minor boy on his lap and as he kissed him, he also asked the child to suck his tongue. The monk had earlier been accused of a misogynistic comment in which he had said that if his successor, is to be a woman, she must be very attractive. He later went on to apologise for his thoughtless and patriarchal statements.
This of course leaves us with the innumerable cases that have happened behind the closed doors of temples, churches and Imams who have been accused of similar misconduct. One can’t deny that the subordinate status of children and women make them the easiest target for such heinous acts, that are unthinkable and unacceptable on behalf of anyone especially, our holy men.
Many of the complainants don’t register the complainants. They fear the repercussions of their blind followers, who can not only harm them but also their family members. The accuser remains in more danger than the accused. Also the play of power among the devotees and the money that is pumped towards many religious institutions by the big wigs of the country, comes in the way of calling them out. They are intimidated with the money power. Therefore it is a silent message of warning, to not push the buttons beyond their levels of influence. The support is equally dismal for the accusers from the public at large.
If we look into the recent case of Nithyananda who was accused of sexual abuse by one of his devotees and the recent embarrassment of going and declaring a country called Kailasa. Nityananda still remains in the spotlight. What is alarming is that his ardent followers, of which, many are educated, continue to argue till their tongues turn blue, about the innocence of these self styled god men.
Last year in January an eight-year-old girl was allegedly sexually assaulted by a 52-year old Imam inside a mosque in Kishani area of Uttar Pradesh.There are memes galore about the God man, Asaram Bapu, who was found guilty of raping a 16-year-old girl, studying at his ashram in Chhindwara in 2013.
The sex abuse scandal that had engulfed the Roman Catholic Church globally has not spared its Indian arm, as laid bare by the allegations of repeated rape against Jalandhar bishop Franco Mulakkal of Kerala.
The Supreme Court of India, had expressed its shock over the growing number of sexual abuse complaints against priests in Kerala, which has the largest number of Christians in India. In this shocking case a minor girl had been allegedly raped in the church by the priest in Kottiyoor in Malabar district in 2016. The girl in 2017, gave birth to a child, which was immediately handed over to a children’s home.
Till date none of us can forget the date of 7 January 2015, when the Islamic fundamentalists murdered 12 people at the offices of Charlie Hebdo. All these incidents are like warnings against anyone who dare to attack a belief system that are not secular in nature.
Abuse among children leaves them with a loss of faith. The victims are guilty and shameful for the abuse they survived. In majority cases, the abuse starts with fondling and in some cases of penetrative sexual assault.
As thinking, secular citizens of India, one can’t help but condemn this act of discrimination meted out to a minor in full public glare. Also, one can’t help but wonder if this is the unhinged power the God men have gathered over the years. The power and the position that they abuse and the total loss of fear for their actions.
The Dalai Lama has issued an apology on Twitter for this act. But it does leave us thinking where to draw the line between consent and molestation, in such incidents.