Twenty-four hours ahead of his deadline to surrender before the Jodhpur police, godman Asaram Bapu’s lawyer on Friday withdrew his petition for a transit bail in the Gujarat High Court even as Chief Minister Narendra Modi likened him to a monster, although without naming him.
Asaram’s lawyer Sudhir Nanavati moved the court seeking a transit bail for him but after Justice A.J. Desai indicated that the court would reject the bail plea unless it was withdrawn, Mr. Nanavati withdrew the plea.
Asaram has been hiding in Bhopal, where he is learnt to be enjoying political patronage.
At a function in the newly created district of Chhota Udepur in Gujarat, Mr. Modi referred to women’s safety and said one might be accomplished in religious scriptures but “if they do not respect women, society sees them as rakshasas [demons].” “It is a blot on any society. From any corner of the nation if such news [on incidents against women] comes, it shames us,” he added.
Mr. Modi is learnt to have expressed his displeasure at the BJP leaders from Madhya Pradesh defending Asaram. His comments on Friday assumed significance as they indicated his government’s end to patronage to Asaram in Gujarat. Asaram had earlier avoided appearing before the Justice D.K. Trivedi Commission, which was probing the mysterious death of Dipesh and Abhishek Vaghela, who were not even in their teens, in his ashram in Ahmedabad.