Jodhpur, April 17: Responding favourably to Rajasthan police’s plea, the Jodhpur High Court has agreed to give the verdict in the rape case against self-styled guru Asaram Bapu while keeping the latter in jail. The police had filed a petition stating that Rajasthan may witness a Panchkula-like situation (as in the case of Ram Rahim) if Asaram Bapu was produced in court. When Baba Ram Rahim was produced in court, and was sentenced to 10 years each in two rape cases, his followers went on the rampage. The ensuing violence had led to 36 deaths.
The verdict is to be pronounced on April 25. Asaram is lodged in Jodhpur jail. Beginning of this month, a special SC/ST court had reserved its order for April 25 after hearing the two sides in a 2012 rape case against Asaram. The arguments were heard for five months. In this case, a teenage girl had alleged that she was sexually assaulted by Asaram during her stay at his ashram in Manai village close by. The girl belongs to Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh. Asaram, incarcerated since August, 2013, was booked under relevant sections of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act and the SC/ST Act. If convicted, Asaram could face up to ten years in jail.
Earlier this year, in connection with another rape case lodged in Gandhinagar, a local court had instructed Asaram to appear via video-conferencing. In this case, the complainant was a Surat-based woman who had alleged that Asaram raped her multiple times while she stayed at his ashram between 1997 and 2006.
Asaram had been denied bail by the Supreme Court. He is one of the 14 self-styled gurus who has been declared ‘fake gurus’ by the Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad. Like him, many of the gurus on the list are in jail.