A 28-year-old French woman has accused well-known LGBTQI+ activist, poet and psychologist Divya Dureja (27) of allegedly drugging and sexually assaulting her in a resort in North Goa on February 23.
The French woman is a yoga trainer, who had arrived in Goa in January. She has alleged that Dureja invited her to her room in a resort in North Goa and assaulted her. According to her complaint, the activist kept her in her hotel room for over four-and-a-half hours without her consent and penetrated her with her fingers.
North Goa SP Utkrisht Prasoon told the Indian Express that Dureja was arrested based on the woman's complaint. In the FIR on February 24, Dureja has been charged under Section 354 (criminal assault on woman with the intention of outraging her modesty) and Section 342 (wrongful confinement) of the IPC. Meanwhile, Dureja has been released on bail by a local court last week.
What has the French woman accused Divya Dureja of?
In a long post on Instagram, the woman said that Dureja contacted her through Instagram. "Divya contacted me on Instagram and I was impressed by her profile as she seemed to actively advocate for mental health and LGBTQ rights," she wrote.
Describing her ordeal, the yoga trainer said Dureja drugged her and locked her in her room for 6 hours. She even performed a "shamanic ritual" on her, said the woman.
"Under the false pretext of helping me with my chronicle back pain, she drugged me and locked me in her room for 6 hours, where she forcefully performed a so-called shamanic ritual, claiming we were meant since our past lives to be reunited, and that this ritual was what we needed to be together forever. For 6 hours, I witnessed insanity beyond everything I could ever imagine," the French woman wrote.
"She (Dureja) forced me to drink one full liter of water without interruption, to clean myself from negative energies. She then pulled me from behind forcing me to burb, yelling ‘you can do it, baby’. Following this, she obliged me to close my eyes and to stand against the wall. It lasted for four hours, and every time I tried to open my eyes, she started to scream very loudly. I was terrified, in shock, and under the influence of the drug she’d given me. I could not move or do anything to defend myself. She claimed she was performing a shamanic ritual destined to reunite us, because she’d been looking for me for centuries, through this life and past lives; and that this ceremony intended to allow us to be together forever," she added.
Who is Divya Dureja?
Divya Dureja is a psychologist, LGBTQIA+ activist, mental health advocate, poet, and TEDx speaker. Reportedly, she identifies herself as queer and her poems often revolve around the issues queer people face.
According to her Facebook profile, Divya is also the co-founder of Performers' Consortium, a platform for nourishing artists and democratising art narratives. They have curated numerous showcases and open-mics across Delhi, including the city's unique performance showcase featuring only Queer and Assigned Female At Birth Artists – ‘AFABulously Queer Showcase’.
Divya has been a headlining performer at college festivals of Delhi University and at corporate events in Delhi and Bengaluru. She has judged poetry slams at various festivals of educational institutions, including Rendezvous IIT Delhi.
She also designs and conducts skill development programmes with university students on topics of gender, sexuality, health, counselling and relationships.