Asaram found guilty of rape, awarded life term

The Jodhpur court will pronounce the verdict in Asaram rape case on April 25

The Jodhpur court will pronounce the verdict in Asaram rape case on April 25

"The government also let them down as their security cover was reduced when a witness Kripal Singh was killed in Uttar Pradesh, but we moved to Supreme Court and got it restored".

In Gujarat, two Surat-based sisters individually accused Asaram Bapu and his son Narayan Sai of raping and sexually assaulting them. The cottage was built by Vishnu Deora, one of Asaram's over 20 million devotees, some 30km from Jodhpur.

The parents took the girl to Asaram's ashram in Manai, Jodhpur on August 14, 2013 - he was staying there then.

Meanwhile, Congress veteran Ashok Gehlot, who was Rajasthan chief minister when Asaram Bapu was arrested for the rape, said people should now differentiate between real and fake saints.

The only statement came from DG Vanzara, a former Indian Police Service officer who is an accused in the alleged fake encounter of Ishrat Jahan, a case which dates back to 2004. In images from his court appearances over the past five years, he looks increasingly weak and tired. He was convicted at a closed jailhouse court hearing where hundreds of police stood guard. Shilpi, a warden there, had suggested that she meet the godman in Jodhpur. However the conviction of Asaram Bapu shows that truth does finally prevails.

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Born Asumal Sirumalani in Sindh in Pakistan, Asaram grew up in Ahmedabad, where he was forced to quit school early after his father's death. Within a span of four decades, he added around 400 ashrams in India and overseas. Once, he had also eloped from house to stay at an Ashram in Bharuch at the age of 15.

The white-bearded guru, 77, has always denied raping the then 16-year-old in 2013 during a spiritual retreat at his ashram in Jodhpur. Some of the other accusations made on him were that he recorded the video of the sexual acts with women and saved it for later to blackmail them. Before the verdict, he appeared confident and had invited the lawyer of the complainant and others to visit him in Haridwar.

When Asaram Bapu was arrested in 2013 for the rapes, many violent clashes took place between the Bapu's followers and police in a number of major Indian cities. Ever since, he has been kept in custody and has filed numerous applications for bails.

Asaram is the second high-profile guru who has recently been felled by rape charges. Apart from Asaram, four people were accused of the charges.

"Today some are hailing this as a victory of our criminal justice system, but at every step in this case, the criminal justice system of this country failed the victim and her family", he said.

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