Tuesday, 9 January 2001

Jayashree Prasad Brutally Assaulted in Ashram Dining Room

Jayashree Prasad, my eldest sister, was brutally assaulted in the Ashram Dining Room at around 6.15 a.m. by one Krishna Chandra of Orissa, in front of Veda Prakash Johar, a trustee of Ashram Trust and the in-charge of Ashram Dining Room and in-front of Sharada-ben, who is the deputy in-charge. Krishna Chandra is a voluntary worker and a protégé of Veda Prakash Johar.

The said Krishna Chandra had been accosting Jayashree for some time soliciting sexual favors and she had been repeatedly thwarting his advances. She had even complained to Veda P. Johar and Harikant Patel, the Managing Trustee of Ashram, both of whom had told her that these things happen in the Ashram and one should not pay attention to them. Krishna Chandra had already got bad record of spoiling the lives of certain girls from the village wherefrom he came, so we were given to understand.

Finally on this day Krishna Chandra opened his shorts in front of her and when Jayashree tried to push past him to reach some safety, she was brutally beaten up. His supporters Girish Panda and Santosh Nayak were also present during the assault and they were silently encouraging him. When she was on the point of near collapse due to the trauma of assault, Girish, who also hails from Orissa, mockingly told Krishna Chandra in oriya to the effect that leave her for today.

Jayashree was aghast and completely broken as she confronted Veda Prakash Johar and told him that if you think what has happened here today in your presence is right then call me back for work and she somehow managed to reach parents house and collapsed.

We other sisters were informed and immediately we rushed to her side. We first went to meet Veda Prakash Johar who was trembling on seeing us. He outright denied his presence, which was most unworthy of his position as trustee and in-charge, while Sharda-ben confirmed his presence during the assault.

Then we went to meet Dilip Kumar Datta, who is another trustee of Ashram Trust and also the overall medical in-charge of Ashram medical facilities. Dilip Datta is also looking into all the legal matters of the Ashram. He did not treat Jayashree but he exclaimed that it is a serious police criminal case, it should not happen even at home, how can it happen in the Ashram?! But he requested us not to go to the police when we asked him if we could lodge a complaint at the police station. He assured us that justice would be given and action taken but since it will create a bad name for the Ashram, it would be better if sorted out in-house.

There is a rule in the Ashram that inmates cannot approach the police before obtaining prior permission from the trustees and since Dilip Datta had denied us permission, we could not approach the police for help.