Guru gets second life sentence for rape

A sessions court in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, on Tuesday sentenced self-styled god-man Asaram Bapu (left) to life imprisonment in a 2013 rape case filed by a woman disciple.

He was found guilty of assaulting the woman several times between 2001 and 2006 at his ashram in Gujarat.

The 81-year-old is currently serving a life sentence after he was convicted of raping a 16-year-old girl in 2018.

His lawyer said he would appeal against the latest court sentence.

Additional sessions judge DK Soni said Asaram committed a "very serious crime" against society and should be punished "to the fullest extent" to prevent the exploitation of religious people.

The court also imposed a fine of Rs50,000 ($802) on Asaram to be paid as compensation to the victim.

"The crime against the accused has been proved beyond doubt by the prosecution. That the accused has reached an old age and not keeping well cannot be ground for defence," the court said in its order.

"The accused has committed a very serious crime and there can be no place for sympathy for such a heinous crime. The perpetrator of such a heinous crime cannot be spared to prevent the exploitation of the devout people of the society."

Asaram, known for his teachings on yoga and meditation, has millions of followers and hundreds of ashrams around the world. He also has strong political connections.

The authorities in Gujarat had tightened security ahead of Tuesday's order over concerns that there could be violence from the guru's supporters, reported the BBC.

A day earlier, the court in Gandhinagar city convicted Asaram under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, including rape and wrongful detention.

Six others accused in the case, including Asaram's wife and daughter, were acquitted due to insufficient evidence.

Allegations of sexual abuse came to light in 2013 when the woman from Surat filed a complaint against the guru. She claimed Asaram raped her several times at his ashram in Motera city, where she was confined for five years before she could escape.

In 2019, Asaram's son Narayan Sai was sentenced to life imprisonment for raping the woman's younger sister.

Asaram was arrested in 2013 after two of his followers accused him of raping their daughter.

Police said he had called the victim to his room in his ashram in Jodhpur city in Rajasthan on the pretext of "curing" her and then raped her.

They added that the guru forced the victim to perform sexual acts on him and threatened to murder her family if she spoke about the incident.

Two of the guru's aides were also convicted and given 20-year jail terms in connection with the case.

Asaram is serving varying jail terms in various cases.

Indo-Asian News Service


அதற்குள்ளாகவா? இந்தச் செய்திகளையும் படிக்கலாமே!

இந்தச் செய்திகளையும் படிக்கலாமே!