Other States

Asaram Bapu booked for sexual assault

File photo of Asaram Bapu interacting with followers at a pandal during Maha Kumbh in Allahabad. Photo: PTI

File photo of Asaram Bapu interacting with followers at a pandal during Maha Kumbh in Allahabad. Photo: PTI  


A student of his gurukul alleges that the godman assaulted her at his Jodhpur ashram

Godman Asaram Bapu has landed in yet another controversy, with a 16-year-old girl student of his gurukul alleging that he sexually assaulted her at his Jodhpur ashram in Rajasthan earlier this month. The godman had purportedly threatened to eliminate the victim’s parents if she revealed the incident to anyone.

A zero FIR accusing the spiritual leader of rape (as defined under the new definition), molestation, illegal confinement, criminal intimidation and acts intended to insult the modesty of a woman under the Indian Penal Code and sexual assault under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act and certain offences under the Juvenile Justice Act has been registered at the Kamla Market police station here.

Since the offence had taken place in Jodhpur, the case has been transferred to the Rajasthan Police for further investigations. The Delhi Police also got the victim’s statement recorded before a magistrate under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

The daughter of a transporter from Uttar Pradesh, the victim is presently pursuing her Class XII from Bapu’s Chhindwara gurukul in Madhya Pradesh. According to the police, earlier this month the school managers called up her parents claiming that she was critical and that she had to urgently undergo an operation. Aghast, the parents rushed to Chhindwara where they found their daughter in a healthy condition.

The hostel officials told the parents that her health improved after their guru gave her a mantra to chant, but since she had been possessed by evil spirits, she could be cured only through a ritual by Asaram Bapu at his Jodhpur ashram. “The family went to the ashram on August 13 and met the godman, who asked the girl to stay back for the ritual that would be performed on August 15. He allegedly told the parents that their presence was not required. However, the couple did not leave,” said a police officer.

On the fateful day, while the parents remained outside, the girl was taken to a room connected to an adjoining room through a door. “The girl broke into tears while narrating the incident. She alleged that the godman entered through another room, soon stripped himself off his clothes and sexually assaulted her. She offered resistance pleading that he let her go, but the godman allegedly kept her in confinement. Before allowing her to leave after three-four hours, he allegedly threatened to eliminate her parents if she revealed the incident,” said the officer.

In a state of shock, the girl initially remained tight-lipped. However, she told her parents about the incident after they reached their residence in Uttar Pradesh on August 17. “Since the godman had organised a three-day camp at Ramlila Maidan here beginning August 18, the parents came to Delhi along with the girl to meet him. However, his security personnel did not let them come close to the godman. The parents finally reported the matter to the Kamla Market police on Monday evening. We then got her medically examined. Her statement was recorded before a magistrate and a case was registered against the godman,” the officer added.

Earlier this year, the godman had made passed controversial remarks about the December 16 gang-rape victim.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2020 7:06:36 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/asaram-bapu-booked-for-sexual-assault/article5044911.ece

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