Jodhpur SC/ST Court in Rajasthan today sentenced life imprisonment to self-styled Godman Asaram Bapu, convicting for raping a 16-year-old. No matter how much he used the muscle and money power of himself and his followers all over India, nothing could protect their ‘bapu’ from being convicted. During the trial of two rape cases he was alleged of, he did not spare even a inch to protect himself - from attacking the witnesses to attempts of influencing the police and media persons.
The ‘bapu’ has been confined in jail turned fortress in Jodhpur to keep him separate from his faithful followers since 2013. The victim and her family in Shahjahanpur of UP, are kept under protection too. Finally today ‘Bapu’ got convicted for being guilty of rape, trafficking, and sexual crimes against children. The ‘Bapu’ is not alone this time also, four more of his faithful followers are also convicted - Sanchita alias Shilpi, Sharad Chandra alias Sharat Chandra, Prakash and Shiva alias Sava Ram Hethvadiya. The sections under which the conviction is made are more than a dozen, under 16 sections of Indian Penal Code, POCSO Act and Juvenile Justice Act.
The incident took place in 2013, when the victim was just 16 years old, her parents were convinced by Asaram that the poor girl was possessed by evil spirits, and took her to his ashram in Chhindwara, where she was raped by the self-declared Godman. Later on, two sisters from Gujrat alleged 'Bapu' and son of "bapu', Narayan Sai of rape and illegal confinement. Since the trial started, he took a good care to stop the witnesses to perform their duties - nine of the witnesses were attacked, and three unfortunates were killed. Asaram’s doctor, cook and another key witness were shot to death, and two other witnesses also were attacked in 2015 within the court premises, but they did a praiseworthy job that they did not take their step back from giving witness.
‘Bapu’ and his faithful followers, did not spare the policemen too. The police officer who was investigating the case faced regular threats. Judge Madhusudan Sharma, who pronounced the verdict today has been provided with Z+ security.
The Police covered Jodhpur Central Jail, where a special SC/ST court, not leaving even a meter from being protected, preventing the faithful followers of Asaram from creating hindrance in the delivery of the justice. As the number of followers of Asaram in Jodhpur, Gujarat and Haryana is really huge, thus police is taking protection in prior so that the destructive incident occurred during conviction of Ram Rahim, another self-declared Godman, does not get repeated. Sec. 144 has already been declared in Jodhpur till 30th April, banning assembly of more than 4 people at a place.
The charges levied on the self-declared Godmen are as follows:
- Sec. 342 IPC for wrongful confinement
- Sec.354A IPC for assault on woman with intent to outrage her modesty
- Sec. 370(4) IPC for trafficking of person for exploitation
- Sec. 376(2)f and Sec. 376D IPC for rape
- Sec. 506 IPC for criminal intimidation
- Sec. 34 and Sec. 509 for word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman
- Sec. 120(B) IPC for criminal conspiracy
- Sec. 23 of JJ Act for cruelty to juvenile
- Sec. 26 of JJ Act for exploitation of juvenile
- Sec. 5(f), Sec. 5(g), Sec. 6, Sec.7 and Sec. 8 of POCSO Act for penetrative sexual assault
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