Self-styled 'godman' with millions of followers jailed for life for raping minor

Self-styled 'godman' with millions of followers jailed for life for raping minor

A case was filed against Asaram under the charges that he had gang-raped a girl who was studying in one of his ashrams as Chindwara, Madhya Pradesh.

Judge Madhusudan Sharma found Asaram Bapu, 77, guilty of raping the 16-year-old girl at his ashram near the northern city of Jodhpur in 2013, lawyers linked with the case said. Asaram has built an empire of close to 400 ashrams estimated to be worth around Rs 10,000 crore. He has been jailed since then, with courts refusing multiple attempts at bail.

Followers of Asaram Bapu attend a special prayer for his acquittal, before a court convicted him for raping a teenage girl, inside his ashram in Ahmedabad, India, April 25, 2018.

Sirumalani denied the charges, and his defence lawyers have said they will appeal the verdict. It was that Guru who gave him the name "Asaram" in 1964 and "commanded him to carve his own path and guide people".

After his conviction the father of the victim had said, "Asaram is convicted, we have got justice". Read Also: Sex, Power and Manic Ambition: How Asaram built his sinister cult On the evening of August 15, the complainant travelled to a farmhouse, not far from Asaram's ashram in Jodhpur, and attended a special satsang for a select gathering.

Two of the four other co-accused were also found guilty, Mr Bains added. The three states, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Haryana, are home to large numbers of Asaram devotees.

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. A time of five weeks was given by the Supreme Court to end the trial.

In small groups, Asaram's followers had arrived early in the morning for their daily routine of holding prayers and chanting shlokas behind the tall, grilled gates of the sprawling ashram on the banks of the Sabarmati river.

"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. The girl stated in her complaint that he sexually assaulted her for over an hour and threatened her against revealing anything to her parents.

Last August, when another powerful Indian guru, Dr. Saint Gurmeet Singh Ram Rahim Insan, was convicted of raping two women, his enraged followers killed 30 people and injured hundreds of others, destroyed property and set vehicles ablaze in the town of Panchkula.

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