New Delhi, Apr 25: A Jodhpur Schedule Caste and Schedule Tribe Court on Wednesday convicted self-styled godman Asaram and two others in a rape case. Along with Asaram, the court also convicted Sanchita alias Shilpi, Sharad Chandra alias Sharat Chandra in the five-year-rape case. The other two — Prakash and Shiva alias Sava Ram Hethvadiya — have been acquitted by the court. Also Read - Blackbuck Poaching Case: Jodhpur Court Asks Salman Khan to Appear on March 7

Following the Jodhpur Court verdict, the father of the rape victim thanked everyone who supported them “in this fight” and said that they have finally got justice. He hoped that Asaram will be given a ‘strict punishment’ and justice for those who have been murdered or kidnapped, during the course of the case. Also Read - Blackbuck Poaching Case: Salman Khan Fails to Appear Before Jodhpur Court, Next Hearing on December 19

“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,” he said. Also Read - Blackbuck Poaching Case: Jodhpur Court Asks Salman Khan to Appear For Hearing on Friday

Neelam Dubey, the spokesperson of Asaram, said, “We will discuss with our legal team and then decide our future course of action. We have confidence in our judiciary.” (Also Read: Asaram Bapu Rape Case in Jodhpur: Sequence of Events in The Sexual Assault Case in Which Self-Styled Godman is Accused)

Reacting to the Asaram verdict, Congress leader Ashok Gehlot said, “The time has come when people should be able to differentiate between the actual saints and the frauds, as this creates a bad image of the country in the international arena.” (Also Read: Asaram Rape Case Verdict: Self-styled Godman in List of Fake Babas Released by Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad)

Ahead of the verdict in the five-year-old rape case, followers of Asaram gathered inside various ashrams of the self-styled guru and prayed for his release. Security has been deployed at all his ashrams to make sure no untoward incident or Panchkula-like situation (when Dera Sacha Sauda’s Gurmeet Ram Rahim was convicted) takes place.

The rape case against Asaram dates back to August 2013 when a 16-year-old girl, who belonged to Shahjahanpur in Uttar Pradesh, alleged that she was raped by the self-styled godman. She alleged that he had called her to his ashram in Manai area near Jodhpur and raped her on the night of August 15 in 2013. He was arrested on August 31. Asaram was booked under relevant sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) and the SC/ST Act.