Indian court jails popular guru for life over teen rape

Indian court jails popular guru for life over teen rape

Indian court jails popular guru for life over teen rape

Jodhpur: Self-styled godman Asaram Bapu was Wednesday sentenced to life-long jail term by a special SC/ST court here for raping a minor almost five years ago.

Vanzara claimed the girl never said in the first information report that she was raped, and added that it was not right to call Asaram a rapist, The Indian Express reported.

The Jodhpur police are continuing to keep a close watch on the city because some supporters had reportedly threatened to self-immolate in case of a guilty verdict. These were wrongful confinement, criminal intimidation, criminal conspiracy and sexual harassment.

The case was later transferred to Jodhpur, where the crime had taken place, and Asaram was arrested in Indore and brought to the western Rajasthan town.

Asaram, who urges followers to live a pious life free of sexual desires, has always denied raping the then 16-year-old in 2013 at an ashram in the city. The family reached the Jodhpur ashram on 14 August. During this time other charges surfaced against the godman for allegedly raping and sexually assaulting other women.

Both Asaram and his son are also named in at least two other rape cases. He was under judicial custody since September 2, 2013. He also informed that the magistrate, court, staff, Asaram and the other accused will also be present at the jail premises.

Asaram met the family on August 14, 2013.

The hearing was closed to media and the prison surrounded by tight security, with thousands of police deployed across parts of India amid fears his devotees could riot. His bail applications were rejected by different courts.

Asaram's personal assistant was shot and killed in 2014 and in 2015 another associate of his was killed in Muzaffarnagar.

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"When I came to know what had happened to my daughter, it was shattering for us. we lost all faith in him when we learnt about his misdeeds", he said.

Asaram's spokesperson Neelam Dubey told reporters that his legal team will challenge the verdict in India's High Court. "We do respect the court's judgement but the Constitution of India offers a four-layer judiciary system, from local to the Supreme Court".

Before the verdict was handed down, police were placed on high-alert across three states, amid the threat of further violence. It was Lilashah Bapu, who apparently gave him the name "Asaram" in 1964 and "commanded him to carve his own path and guide people".

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