Asaram convicted, given life sentence for raping minor girl

A Jodhpur court on Wednesday found self-styled spiritual guru Asaram guilty of raping a minor girl and sentenced him to life in prison. The girl who is originally from Shahjahanpur, was raped at an ashram near Jodhpur in 2013. Asaram was charged under sections of the POCSO Act and the Juvenile Justice Act. His two co-accused Shilpi a.k.a Sanchita Gupta and Sharat Chandra a.k.a Sharad Chandra have also been found guilty. They have been sentenced to 20 years each in prison.

Asaram Bapu
Image Courtesy: Hindustan Times

Who is Asaram
Asaram a.k.a Asumal Sirumalani who once worked as tonga driver in Ajmer, started his ashram from a small hut on the banks of the Sabarmati river in 1971. With the support of wealthy followers he built an Ashram in Motera near Ahmedabad over a 10 acre plot of land. He has allegedly amassed wealth worth Rs 10,000 crores. He also has close to 400 ashrams across the world.

Asaram’s controversies
In July 2008, decomposed bodies of two minor boys were discovered behind the Motera ashram’s ‘gurukul’ (school). Allegations of black magic followed. Asaram courted controversy once again when he blamed ‘Nirbhaya’ for her rape. Asaram and his son Narayan Sai have also been accused of rape by two sisters in Gujarat. Ever since the trial began nine witnesses in two cases have been attacked. Three of the witnesses were killed in these attacks.

Security beefed up for Asaram verdict
Earlier security was stepped up in Jodhpur fearing a violent reaction from followers of Asaram. Three states were placed on alert. This fear came from a previous instance in August 2017, when followers of another preacher Ram Rahim Singh rioted across Haryana and Punjab after he was convicted in a rape case. However, at the time of filing this story, no incidents of violence were reported after the judgment in Asaram’s case.




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