How The Mighty Have Fallen
Self-styled godman Asaram Bapu was found guilty in a 2013 rape case by Jodhpur Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Court, on Wednesday. He has been convicted of raping a minor girl in Manai village, near Jodhpur on August 15, 2013.
In 2013, a 16-year-old girl from Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh, alleged that he had sexually assaulted her in his ashram on the outskirts of Jodhpur. This led to his arrest. He was arrested from Indore and brought to Jodhpur central jail on September 1, 2013, and is presently still lodged there.
Asaram’s spokesperson Neelam Dubey said they will talk to their legal team and decide the future course of action. “We will discuss with our legal team and then decide our future course of action. We have confidence in our judiciary,” Dubey said.
Earlier in the day, people were seen offering prayers at the godman’s ashram in Madhya Pradesh’s Bhopal, Uttar Pradesh’s Varanasi, Gujarat’s Ahmedabad and Punjab’s Ludhiana for his acquittal.
A follower of Asaram even reached the jail with a garland in the morning. He, however, was detained by police. Prohibitory orders have been issued and security heightened in Jodhpur, apprehending a threat to law and order from Asaram’s followers.
The judgement in the case was pronounced inside the Jodhpur Central Jail, keeping in view the law and order in the situation in Rajasthan and neighbouring states. Asaram is also facing a trial in Gujarat for raping two Surat-based sisters. His son, Narayan Sai, is also an accused in the case. Additionally, he is facing charges of trafficking, rape, and sexual crimes against children. The quantum of the sentence will be pronounced later today and could be facing a prison term ranging from 10 years to life imprisonment.
Before becoming a spiritual guru, Asaram went by the name Asumal Sindhi and was a tongawala Ajmer. He used to carry pilgrims from the railway station to the Dargah Sharif.