THE godman Asaram Bapu may not be as flamboyant as Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, chief of the Dera Sacha Sauda who was recently convicted for rape, but he was also allegedly involved in several crimes. In September 2013, 76-year-old Asaram Bapu was arrested on the charge of having raped a 16-year-old girl. Subsequently, several allegations of sexual assault, illegal confinement, black magic, land- grabbing and murder were levelled against him. He is currently serving time in jail for rape.
With the Gujarat courts dragging their feet on the other cases, there has been little progress in them. Despite several serious and shocking charges and extremely incriminating evidence against Asaram Bapu, it is curious that the cases have not been fast-tracked. Additionally, it raises the question whether there is a need for stricter laws specifically for “gurus” and godmen who exploit the vulnerable.
It is expected that after the ruling against Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, Asaram Bapu will be the next godman to be tried. In fact, the Supreme Court had earlier this year asked the Gujarat government to expedite Asaram Bapu’s case. Recently, it rapped the State government for not examining the victim. The godman faces charges of rape and illegal confinement in two cases, one in Rajasthan and the other in Gujarat.
Asaram Bapu began his “spiritual movement” in Gujarat, which soon spread to other parts of western and northern India. He built a network of 400 ashrams in 12 nations and has a legion of followers. He enjoyed the patronage of senior politicians, bureaucrats, police officials and well-known businessmen. It is believed that he also enjoyed a certain amount of protection from his powerful associations. However, his smooth run hit rough weather in 2008 when four boys were found dead in two ashrams. This opened a can of worms and out tumbled sordid tales of sexual assault and the alleged possibility of children being used in sacrificial ceremonies....Read more
Source web page:Frontline.in