The self-styled godman, Asaram, has been found guilty in the 2013 rape case where he was accused of raping a teenager on the night of August 15, 2013. The Jodhpur Schedule Caste and Schedule Tribe Court pronounced the verdict against the 77 year old self proclaimed ‘Sadhu’ on April 25 and awarded life imprisonment to the Hindu saint.
The security was tightened outside the court along with the enhanced security in Rajasthan, Gujarat and Haryana where the centre had asked the states to deploy additional forces to avoid any case of violence or untoward incidence. The victim and her family along with the witnesses were also given police protection and they were kept under stringent vigilance. “The security for the victim’s family is continuously being monitored..Two more constables will stand guard outside her house in addition to the five policemen already deployed there, and a strict vigil is being maintained on all the visitors using CCTV cameras,” affirmed K. B. Singh, Superintendent of Police, to PTI.
Judge Madhusudan Sharma pronounced the verdict in the Jodhpur Central Jail where Asaram has been imprisoned from last 4 years. The verdict was read in the Jodhpur Central Jail due to security issues rather than in the court. Asaram was convicted in 10 out of 11 sections imposed on him for allegedly raping a 16-year old teenager. The co-accused, Shipi and Sharatchandra, are also convicted and awarded 20 year imprisonment to each along with Rs. 10 Lac penalty while the other 2 accused, Prakash and Shiva, are acquitted in the case. The National Commission For Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) member Yashwant Jain said, “This judgement is a lesson to people who think they can get away by committing sexual offences against children. I would like to appreciate the girl & her family for fighting against the culprits,” after the verdict was out, reported media.
Asaram, reportedly broke down after hearing the verdict. Asaram’s aide, Neelam Dubey along with other followers, said that they will appeal in the Rajasthan High Court after consulting with their legal team. The victim’s father on the other hand felt content with the verdict and said, “Asaram is convicted, we have got justice. I want to thank everyone who supported us in this fight,”, reported news agency ANI. This is a second verdict against the high profile self-styled godmen after Baba Ram Rahim in August 2017. Baba Ram Rahim Singh was convicted in rape of 2 of his female followers and was slapped with Rs. 30 Lakh penalty along with 20 year imprisonment which would run consecutively and not concurrently.
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