Prajwal Revanna Case Demonstrates Why And How Male Politicians’ Sexual Offenses Can Go Unpunished For Years

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The Hassan women would be badly served by viewing Prajwal Revanna’s purported misuse of authority as a “sex scandal.” The claims made against him demonstrate the true meaning of the adage “absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

Prajwal Revanna
Source: Google [Image by The Hindu]
In Indian politics, the shadow of sexual crimes is never far from the surface. It is just more difficult to ignore cases during election season. Thousands of “videos” purporting to show sexual offenses, ranging from rape to molestation, perpetrated by JD(S) Karnataka leader and Hassan MP Prajwal Revanna have dominated the 2024 Lok Sabha election. Even as one after another of the women in this parliamentary constituency, a bastion of the JD(S) since 2004, comes clean about the years of terror, the grandson of former prime minister HD Deve Gowda has fled to Germany on a diplomatic passport.
In this case, three FIRs have been filed. One JD(S) employee has reported being raped repeatedly, and another man said that HD Revanna had “kidnapped” his mother.The accusations against Prajwal date back many years, if not decades, and have renewed the critical dialogue about the behavior of influential politicians and women’s safety.
Rahul Gandhi, the leader of the Congress, has referred to the accusations made against Prajwal as a “mass rape” and demanded an apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi for encouraging the public to vote for a “mass rapist.” In the meantime, the BJP has attempted to hold the Congress accountable by questioning why its Karnataka government did not act to remove the MP.
Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah called for the revocation of Revanna’s diplomatic passport, claiming that the BJP had fielded him against Hassan “knowing full well that he is a rapist.” Ramappur Timmapur, a Congress minister, went so far as to liken Prajwal to the Hindu god Krishna, claiming that the MP from Hassan wished to surpass Krishna’s record of having several wives.

A Horrible Account

Powerful men committing sexual offenses is a common occurrence in Indian politics. Ramesh Jarkiholi, a former minister in the Karnataka government, is accused of sexually abusing a woman in 2021 in exchange for her being hired by the Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Ltd (KPTCL). Earlier in 2018, due to their closeness to the main accused in the Muzaffarpur shelter home case—in which 19 men were found guilty of raping over 40 minor girls and young women over an extended period of time—at least three JD(U) and one BJP leader—who had previously held ministerial posts in the Bihar government—were questioned.
Thus, when JD(S) employees learned about Prajwal’s case, they attempted to minimize it. Prajwal’s father, HD Revanna, who is also charged with kidnapping and molesting women, initially suggested that the opposition was attempting to stir up controversy around “4-5 year old” videos.
The charges did not come out lightly. According to reports, senior party leaders were informed about the videos by BJP leader Devaraje Gowda. In the end, people were given pen drives with the abuse videos on them that had been left at train and bus stations. The identities of the women featured in the abuse videos have been made public, leaving them socially vulnerable. Karthik Gowda, Prajwal’s driver, also leveled a number of accusations against the MP in a shocking video statement. The MP is running for office from the Hassan seat once more.

A Powerful Family

In Hassan, the family of former prime minister HD Deve Gowda holds immense power. Prajwal Revanna is an MP currently serving. While his father HD Revanna is the current MLA, his brother Suraj Revanna is a member of the Legislative Council. His mother, Bhavani Revanna, is a Zila Parishad member, and his uncle, HD Kumaraswamy, served as Karnataka’s former chief minister.
The family is one of the most influential political dynasties in India and Karnataka. And they know it very well. Bhavani Revanna made headlines recently when she suggested to a biker who had crashed into her opulent SUV that he ought to have chosen to pass away under a bus rather than her vehicle. This condition was named “post-surgery stress.”
A formal complaint has been filed against Prajwal, and a Special Investigation Team has been established under the leadership of IPS BK Singh, who oversaw the investigation into the murder of Gauri Lankesh.
Chief Minister of Karnataka Siddaramaiah has requested that Prajwal, who has fled to Germany, have his diplomatic passport revoked and be brought back to stand trial. In a statement to the SIT, Prajwal maintains his innocence and says he will return in a week to speak with the investigating teams. A watchful notice has been issued by the police regarding them.
A woman who purportedly worked as a cook in his home described the prevalent culture of fear in the FIR. When Prajwal was by himself, women cautioned one another not to go to him. Molesting the complainant was allegedly a regular occurrence.
A “sex scandal” would be a disservice to the women of Hassan if Prajwal’s purported misuse of authority were viewed as such. The accusations made against him demonstrate the true meaning of the adage “absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

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