Jodhpur, Apr 25: Asaram, the self-styled godman, has been convicted by the Jodhpur Schedule Caste and Schedule Tribe Court on Wednesday amid tight security. According to reports, two other co-accused – Shipi and Sharatchandra – in the case were also convicted. Two other co-accused – Prakash and Shiva – have been acquitted. The verdict was delivered inside the Jodhpur Central Jail by Judge Madhusudhan Sharma due to security concerns. He has been sentenced to life imprisonment by the Jodhpur court. Click here for Live updates on the coverage of Asaram case verdict . Also Read - Uttar Pradesh: Section 144 Imposed in Noida Till Jan 31; Protests, Private Drones Restricted
Reacting to the verdict, the rape survivor’s father said, “Asaram is convicted, we have got justice. I want to thank everyone who supported us in this fight. Now I hope he will get strict punishment. I also hope the witnesses who were murdered or kidnapped get justice.” Also Read - Curfew, Prohibitory Orders Imposed in Parts of Bhopal | Here's Why
“We will discuss with our legal team and then decide our future course of action. We have confidence in our judiciary,” said Neelam Dubey, Asaram spokesperson, shortly after the verdict. Also Read - Night Curfew, No Public Gathering: Pandemic Casts Dark Shadow Over New Year's Eve Celebrations Across India
Security in Rajasthan was tightened in view of the verdict against Asaram. Other states — Gujarat and Haryana — have also been asked to step up their security to prevent any untoward incident and deploy additional forces to the sensitive areas, a Home Ministry official said. An advisory was issued by the Asaram ashram authorities to stay calm whatever the verdict is.
Asaram’s involvement was probed in two separate cases – one from Rajasthan and the other from Gujarat. In Rajasthan, a teenage girl from Shahajahanpur of Uttar Pradesh had accused Asaram of raping her at his ashram in Manai village near Jodhpur on the night of August 15, 2013. The survivor in the case stuck to her testimony for years despite all security threats that she reportedly faced.
In Gujarat, two Surat-based sisters lodged separate complaints against the self-styled godman and his son Narayan Sai, accusing them of rape. Asaram was booked under relevant sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) and the SC/ST Act.
The Rajasthan High Court had on April 17 ordered the trial court to deliver its verdict inside the jail premises. The bench comprising Justice Gopal K.Vyas and Justice Ram Chandra Singh Jhala had also issued guidelines to the Commissioner to ensure law and order in the city on the verdict day. The final arguments in the Asaram Bapu rape case were completed on April 7, 2018.
The Jodhpur Police on Tuesday said that Section 144 will be imposed in the city till April 30. “Rajasthan High Court made arrangements for judgement in Asaram rape case to be pronounced inside Jodhpur Central Jail on April 25. Section 144 of CRPC will be imposed in Jodhpur till April 30.We appeal to the public to follow the order. More than four people can’t assemble in public,” a police officer told reporters here. “We will not tolerate any kind of nonsense. We have taken all precautionary measures. We are confident that we will be able to handle law and order,” Jodhpur East (DCP) Amandeep Singh Kapoor said.