Life Sentence for Spiritual Leader Convicted of Rape

Asaram Bapu

Life Sentence for Spiritual Leader Convicted of Rape

"This was never a case of rape", Vanzara told reporters.

An Indian spiritual guru with millions of followers has been jailed for life for raping a 16-year-old girl.

The 77-year-old Asaram was arrested in Indore and brought to Jodhpur on September 1, 2013.

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The girl, who was taking spiritual lessons at one of his ashrams, was taken to Asaram, on the pretext that she was possessed by evil spirits and needed to be exorcised.

The court has also sentenced two of Asaram Bapu's accomplices to twenty years in jail while acquitting two others for lack of evidence. The teenager and her family went to a different state to meet Sirumalani, and spent the night at his ashram - where he raped her as her parents slept. "He said I was on the path to success and would be made a sevika (a servile devotee)".

After Gurmeet Ram Rahim, who was convicted of rape and sentenced to 20 years of jail last year, Asaram Bapu is the second self-styled "guru" of a cult to be held guilty of rape, in this case of a minor, in recent times. Asaram has been convicted under Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code, the POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act and the Juvenile Justice Act.

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"What kind of protest?" said Dubey.

Earlier, the top court had refused to grant bail to Asaram on various grounds in the two sexual assault cases lodged in Rajasthan and Gujarat. Notably, Amrut Prajapati, who was Asaram's aide and a key witness in the case, was shot and killed in 2014.

He is also facing prosecution in a Rs 700-crore land grab case of 2000 in Madhya Pradesh. Also, it is huge win and justice for the victim because people like Asaram are destroying the faith and using it against the humanity against us. Asaram had several high profile followers with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Rajasthan chief minister, Vasundhara Raje Scindia and other top BJP leaders frequently paying visits to his ashram in the past.

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