Self-styled godman Asaram gets lifetime in jail: Top developments
TIMESOFINDIA.COM | Updated: Apr 25, 2018, 22:03 IST
The verdict of a lifetime in jail was slapped on self-styled godman Asaram Bapu for raping a 16-year-old girl at his ashram in August 2013. Here are the latest developments and top reactions to the spiritual leader's conviction:
* A Jodhpur court on Wednesday sentenced self-styled godman Asaram to life imprisonment after finding him guilty of raping a teenage girl in his ashram five years ago.
* Asaram will be in prison till his natural death. The godman's two other accomplices, Sharad and Shilpi, were sentenced to 20 years each in jail in the case while remaining co-accused Shiva and Prakash were acquitted.
* According to the 1,300-page chargesheet filed by the Rajasthan police, Asaram was booked for sexual assault, raping and illegally confining a minor under several sections of the POCSO Act and SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities Act).
* The 77-year-old spiritual guru has always denied raping the then 16-year-old in 2013 during a spiritual retreat at his ashram in Jodhpur. His lawyer said they would appeal the sentence.
* The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights said despite the victim being a minor, the new ordinance that allows courts to invoke the death penalty in such cases will not be applicable in this case.
* Welcoming the verdict, the rape survivor's lawyer said: "This is a victory for all such victims and a clear message has been sent out to all the perpetrators of such crimes that you cannot escape the wrath of the law. The victim and her father have really been brave and kudos to them."
* Following Asaram's conviction, Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said the places named after the godman would be rechristened. Bhopal has two places named after Asaram -- a road crossing and a bus stand, both located near the godman's ashram on the city's outskirts.
* The kin of the Delhi gang-rape victim Nirbhaya also hailed the life imprisonment awarded to Asaram in the rape case. The self-styled godman had defended the culprits who brutally raped a 23-year-old woman and instead held the victim responsible for it, saying: "Galati ek taraf se nahi hoti (mistake is never committed from one side alone)."
"Asaram is a demon under the garb of sadhu...We are also feeling relieved after the Jodhpur court verdict," Nirbhaya's grandfather said.
* Former Gujarat IPS officer D G Vanzara, who calls himself a disciple of the self-styled godman, said the rape case against Asaram was aimed at tarnishing the image of seers in India, reported PTI.
据印度报业托拉斯报道，前古吉拉特邦的印度安全警察部队官D G Vanzara自称是阿沙朗的信徒，他表示针对阿沙朗的强奸案旨在玷污印度先知的形象。
"This situation, wherein attempts are being made to malign the image of saints like Asaram Bapu through such cases, is not in the interest of the country, or Hindus or the Sanatan religion," Vanzara said.
He further claimed the victim was "never raped" and the entire case was of "inappropriate touching" at the most.