Impotency: The potent defence that rape-accused godmen take refuge in
Impotency, the claim that self-styled Godmen take refuge in to reject allegations of sexual assault. Recently jailed Dera Sacha Sauda Chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Insaan told a special CBI court that he was impotent and hence could not have sexually assaulted anyone. He is not the only godman to have taken refuge in the claim. From Asaram Babu to Nithyananda, impotency seems to be the favourite pick.
Gurmeet Ram Rahim claimed that he was not potent and hence could not have sexually assaulted 'sadhvis' of the dera. His counsels told the special CBI court that he was impotent and was not medically and physically fit to have sex with anyone. The claim was destroyed by the CBI that submitted that Gurmeet's own daughters were present in the Dera hostel in 1999, puncturing the claim. "How were your daughters born?" was CBI special court judge Jagdeep Singh's question to Gurmeet Ram Rahim. The court declared that the claim of impotency was untrue and that the there was not an iota of evidence to prove the same.
Incidentally, Gurmeet is not the only baba to have attempted to take refuge in the impotency claim. Infamous self-styled Godman Nithyananda had also made similar claims in a rape case against him. A former disciple of Nithyananda filed a case of rape against him. Nithyananda did not just tell the court that he was impotent but went an extra mile and claimed that "he was not a man, in fact, he had no gender". When the Karnataka high court ordered him to undergo medical tests to determine potency, Nithyananda moved the Supreme Court. For more than a year, he refused to undergo any medical tests despite submitting an affidavit that he was impotent.
The Supreme Court refused to give him any respite and ordered medical tests to prove his claims in the rape case. In September 2014, Nithyananda finally underwent medical tests including Penile Doppler Test at Bengaluru's Victoria hospital. The results declared that Nithyananda, contradictory to his claims, was not just a man but was also fit to perform sexual acts. The case is yet to see a conclusive end.
Accused of raping a 16-year-old girl at his Ashram, another self-styled godman, Asaram Bapu had also claimed that he was impotent. In 2013, the then 73-year-old self-proclaimed religious guru was arrested by the Jodhpur police for sexual assault of a minor. Impotency was Bapu's first defence before the police. After being arrested, he told the police that he was incompetent to perpetrate a sexual crime on the victim since he was impotent. The claim was proven false after a medical test. A medical test was conducted at the SN Medical college in Jodhpur.
Time and again, self-styled Godmen have used the excuse of impotency to protect themselves from charges of sexual assault. From Asaram Bapu to Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, impotency seems to be the favourite pick for these self-proclaimed men of God.