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Published On: Wed, Apr 25th, 2018

“Godman” Jailed for life for raping teenager at his ashram

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DE18ASAJODHPUR : Self-styled godman Asaram has been sentenced to life imprisonment for raping after he was found guilty of raping a 16-year-old girl at his ashram in 2013.
Asaram will spend the rest of his life in jail unless a higher court acquits him in the case. He was convicted in the case earlier on Wednesday.
The verdict was announced by the Jodhpur Schedule Caste and Schedule Tribe Court on Wednesday inside the Jodhpur Central Jail premises where Asaram has been lodged for the past over four years. Two other accused, Sharad and Shilpi, who had also been held guilty have been sentenced to 20 years in jail.

Asaram has been convicted under Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Pocso) act. While Asaram along with Sharad and Shilpi have been convicted, two other accused Shiva and Prakash were acquitted by the court.
When the judgement against him was read out, he did not seem to be able to comprehend what was going on. As per sources present in court, he initially started laughing. Later, he began mumbling some religious chants then turned to his lawyer, questioning if he could do anything.
Realising the gravity of the order, he then slapped his hands against his head and started crying in court. He sought leniency but was told that he will have to face the punishment if he has done anything wrong.

“I am happy to get justice,” the father of the rape survivor says in Shajahanpur in Uttar Pradesh after Asaram was convicted by the Jodhpur court.”We had complete faith in judiciary and are happy that we got justice,” he tells reporters in Shahjahanpur. –

Strict security is in place outside the Jodhpur Central Jail where the verdict is to be be pronounced. The road leading to the jail is out of bounds for people.
A supporter of Asaram is detained when he tries to put a garland on a poster of Asaram, but the policemen nab him. The poster was put on a wall of a corridor outside the jail boundary where the family members of prisoners wait. The supporter manages to reach there despite high-security arrangements.

 The case against Asaram pertains to rape of a minor in 2013. The victim, belonging to Shahjahanpur, was staying at Asaram’s ashram in Manai village near Jodhpur.The district administration has stepped up security near the house of the victim. “Five policemen have been deployed at the house and a strict vigil is being maintained,” SP (City) Dinesh Tripathi has said.
 Meanwhile, The Jodhpur police have enforced prohibitory orders under Section 144 of Criminal Procedure Code in the city till April 30, stopped entry of Asaram’s followers and evacuated his ashram at Palgaon on the outskirts of the town to prevent any untoward incident.
The Home Ministry has asked Rajasthan, Gujarat and Haryana to tighten security and deploy additional forces ahead of the verdict. The Ministry told the three States to beef up security. and ensure that no violence takes place after the verdict.(With Agency Inputs ).

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