“Ignore all advice and come back”


Credits: PTI

Written by Vaishavi Arulla, Arjun T

Prajwal Revanna, a prominent politician from the powerful Janata Dal (Secular) party, is currently embroiled in a horrific sexual assault controversy and has allegedly absconded to Germany on 27 April, 2024 and is still at large. In an interaction with the media on 22 May, 2024, JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy appealed, “I’m hopeful that he (Prajwal) will come back…. Don’t take advice from any advocates on this matter. To save his morality he has to come back from wherever he is, this is my demand.” A warrant against him has been issued by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) on May 18, 2024. The now suspended leader of the Janata Dal (Secular) party, member of parliament for Hassan, Karnataka, and the grandson of former prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda is facing multiple charges of sexual harassment and rape.

On April 27, 2024, the SIT was formed to investigate allegations of recurring sexual abuse in Hassan district, involving Prajwal and his father H. D. Revanna, in connection to a kidnapping case. The SIT's application resulted in the issuance of a warrant. Prajwal's passport may be revoked as a result of the SIT preparing to issue a red-corner notice to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). What allows political leaders to use their influence as a weapon against the very people who brought them to power?

Despite all the public chatter, it is challenging to hold the offenders accountable in India due to the incredibly unequal power dynamics and political influence. According to the Special Investigation Team, established for an investigation after a sizable collection of explicit films purportedly depicting Prajwal sexually abusing multiple women went viral, the First Information Report (FIR) against Prajwal was filed in Bengaluru on May 8, 2024. Prajwal is the target of three reported incidences of sexual assault by three different women. A blue corner notice was issued against Prajwal by Interpol on May 7, 2024. The Hindu reports that a new audio recording purports to show former MP L.R. Shivarame Gowda attempted to persuade Devaraje Gowda of the Bharatiya Janata Party to distribute pen drives holding the explicit videos that the MP from Hassan is reportedly in.

Speaking to PTI, Karnataka Home Minister G Parameshwara disregarded the opposition comments on law and order failure in Karnataka and further added, ''The SIT is seriously looking into this case (Prajwal Revanna) from all angles and they are quite competent. As soon as we got to know about this case, we first handed it to the CID and then formed the SIT looking at the gravity of the situation. There were no lapses on the part of the government. If the intelligence has failed here in Karnataka, the Central Intelligence has also failed because they let him fly out of the country''.

Many of the women in the recordings are resisting the police's requests for complaints. Mr Revanna and his father, H.D. Revanna, a sitting Member of the Legislative Assembly from Holenarasipur in Karnataka, have been called by the SIT, Prajwal Revanna, for rape and his father for kidnapping an alleged victim-turned-complainant.

Sexual abuse survivors seldom come forward to report their experiences. And when they do, it's usually because their trauma is too much to take, they have family support, or they have faith that justice will be done even as they seek protection and seclusion. "We want the government to guarantee the protection of the victims who have already filed complaints and those who plan to do so in the near future. We also want the central government to intensify its efforts to bring Prajwal Revanna back to the nation,” said K.S. Vimala, an activist and member of the All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA).

The government is obligated to pursue legal action against Prajwal Revanna to the fullest extent possible. Although due process isn't often aided by campaign tactics, in this particular instance, the state government must look into all parts of the claims, including the alleged victims, the accused, the accused's network, the seeming immunity, and the impunity, said the Indian Express.

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