In Andhra Pradesh’s Visakhapatnam, the police arrested a 63 year old godman, Swami Poornananda, for allegations of sexual assault.
On the 20th of June, the Police charged Swami Poornananda under the sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Protection of Child from Sexual Offence (POCSO) Act, for sexually assaulting a minor (15.)
According to the police, the godman used to rape the victim over two years at his ashram. However, after tolerating the torture for over two years, the victim, who is an orphan, reported the abuse and confinement to the authorities.
It is to be noted, the relatives of the victim sent her to the Swami Gnanananda Ashram Venkojipalem by her relatives after losing her parents at a young age.
According to the victim’s statement, Swamy would take her to his bedroom every night and rape her. She also endured physical torture and was chained in the bedroom for the past year. The victim managed to escape with the help of a domestic worker on the 13th of June. In order to run away, the victim boarded a train and narrated about her misery to a fellow woman passenger. When the woman tried to admit her to a hostel at Kankipadu in Krishna district, the management asked her to bring a letter from the police.
After the police letter, the victim was taken to the Child Welfare Committee (CWC), where the girl revealed the sexual and physical abuse she experienced at the ashram.
Later, the victim underwent a medical examination at Vijayawada Government Hospital, following which a case was registered.
However, the accused, Swamy Poornananda has denied the allegations, claiming that they were part of a conspiracy by individuals seeking to acquire the ashram’s land.
An investigation into the serious matter is underway.
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