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Asaram Bapu: Judgment is expected in Indian guru rape attempt



Asaram Bapu, who is venerated by millions as a living saint, was charged in September 2013 with allegedly rape of a 16-year-old girl, leading to violent clashes between his supporters and the police in several major cities.

Police were alerted in three Indian states in anticipation of the court ruling on Wednesday, with further threats of violence.

The three states of Rajasthan, Gujarat and Haryana harbor a large number of Asaram followers.

Special interdiction orders have already been issued in Jodhpur where the court will pass judgment, with the Rajasthan Supreme Court requiring Section 144 to prohibit the assembly of more than four people in a region until April 30. [1

9659005] In Uttar Pradesh, security was also increased around the house of the alleged victim.

Asaram spokesman Neelam Dubey has rejected suggestions that the Guru's followers intend to protest the verdict.

"What kind of protest?" said Dubey. "We have full respect for the courts, and if the judgment of the lower court does not go our way, we will turn to the Supreme Court."

Since his arrest, Asaram, 77, has been dismissed several bail requests.

The increased security recalls last year's trial of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, leader of the spiritual sect Dera Sacha Sauda, ​​who was found guilty of raping two of his followers in a trial that killed at least 36 people and hundreds were injured after riots broke out in the verdict.
Asaram, described on his website as a "spiritual revolutionary" and "great teacher," is one of India's leading spiritual gurus.

Known among his followers, who are simply known as "Bapuji" or "Father," Asaram became known in the 1970s. In the following decades, he has built a vast religious empire that includes 400 ashrams or religious schools across India, as well as numerous global outreach programs.

Not Just a Case

Asaram, charged with trafficking, rape and sex crimes against children, could be punished with a maximum sentence for life.

Prosecutors allege that Asaram sexually abused a 16-year-old devotee during a religious ceremony to heal them from evil spirits held on August 15, 2013 at his ashram or religious center in Manai village near Jodhpur.

The girl was taken to Asaram by her parents, although they were not present during the time of the alleged attack.

Asaram, who was 74 years old at the time of the alleged incident, dismissed the allegations, claiming that he was physically unable to rape, but the police argued that medical examinations found him in good shape.

Asarams legal The team questioned the girl's age, claiming she was not a minor and had repeated seventh grade.

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"As far as our legal views are concerned, we tried our best – the girl, who was described as innocent, was over 18 years old Dubey said, "You have not submitted papers such as a birth certificate."

In October 2013, the Rajasthan High Court in Jodhpur rejected the claims and issued several school certificates indicating their date of birth on July 4, 1997. 19659002]

Spiritual Icon

Asaram's conviction stems from a series of particularly brutal rape cases in India, including two alleged independent attacks on girls aged 16 and 8.

The consequences of the cases have put pressure on ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, accusing the opponents of defending the men involved in both attacks n.

Modi defends the actions of his government since then and describes sexual violence as "a matter of great concern for the country".
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The reaction to recent cases in which thousands of people have been found on the Street protest was likened to the nationwide outcry over the rape of 23-year-old physiotherapy student Jyoti Singh in 2012, who later died of injuries suffered during the attack.

Jyoti Singh, who later died Injuries sustained during the attack were called Nirbhaya, which means "fearless" in Hindi.

Just over a week after her death, Asaram quarreled when he accused Nirbhaya of sharing responsibility for the attack. Following the attack, Asaram was quoted as saying "the victim is as guilty as her rapists." He added that "it takes two pages to make a mistake".

According to the National Crime Records Bureau, 100 sexual assaults are reported daily to the police in India. There were nearly 39,000 alleged attacks in 2016, an increase of 12% over the previous year.

Edwin Thomas of CNN contributed the report.


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