Asaram found guilty of rape

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Jodhpur: Asaram Bapu rape case verdict: A trial court in Jodhpur on Wednesday held Asaram Bapu guilty of raping a 16-year-old girl in August 2013, reported news agency PTI. The verdict was delivered by Special Judge Madhusudhan Sharma in a makeshift court at the Jodhpur Central Jail, where the self-styled godman has been lodged since 2013. Security has been heightened across the states of Rajasthan, Gujarat and Haryana where Asaram has a huge following. The Ministry of Home Affairs on Tuesday had asked the three states to deploy additional forces in sensitive areas and ensure law and order is maintained following the judgment.

The chargesheet had named Asaram and four others — Sanchita alias Shilpi, Sharad Chandra alias Sharat Chandra, Prakash and Shiva alias Sava Ram Hethvadiya. Asaram is charged under sections of the POCSO Act, Juvenile Justice Act and IPC.

The verdict was delivered in the Jodhpur Central Jail as per orders of the Rajasthan High Court. Section 144 has been imposed in the city, preventing assembly of more than four people.

A 16-year-old girl had accused self-styled godman Asaram Bapu of raping her on the intervening night of August 15 and 16, 2013 at an ashram in Jodhpur. Four others — Sanchita alias Shilpi, Sharad Chandra alias Sharat Chandra, Prakash and Shiva alias Sava Ram Hethvadiya — were named in the chargesheet as well. All of the accused are out on bail, except Asaram, who has been lodged in Jodhpur Central Jail since 2013. He has unsuccessfully moved 12 bail applications.

The verdict has been pronounced against the  Self-styled godman Asaram, here’s the top ten things you need to know about the case:

  •  Asaram was arrested in 2013 after a 16-year-old girl from Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh alleged sexual assault by him in his ashram on the outskirts of Jodhpur.
  • He faces charges of trafficking, rape, sexual crimes against children and could face a life imprisonment if found guilty.
  • Asaram was arrested from Indore and brought to Jodhpur central jail on September 1, 2013. He has been under judicial custody since.
  • The self-styled godman is embroiled in a rape case in Gujarat as well, where two sisters have lodged separate complaints against him and his son Narayan Sai, accusing them of rape and illegal confinement.
  • Over the last four years, since the trial began, as many as nine witnesses in the two cases have been attacked. Three of them have died.
  • The 77-year old ‘godman’ unsuccessfully moved 12 bail applications, of which six were rejected by trial court, three by the Rajasthan High Court and three by the Supreme Court.
  • Security has been heightened and prohibitory orders issued in Jodhpur apprehending a threat to law and order from Asaram’s followers in case the judgement is not to their liking.
  • For the same reason, the trial court has decided to pronounce the verdict from Jodhpur Central Jail, where Asaram is lodged.
  • Judge Madhusudan Sharma, who will pronounce verdict has been provided with Z+ security in view of his safety.
  • The police are also seeking support from neighbouring states following reports that Asaram’s followers plan to arrive in Jodhpur on or before the verdict.

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