News East West
April 25, 2018
NEW DELHI: India’s famous godman Asaram Bapu was given life term by a court in Jodhpur in Rajasthan for raping a minor five years ago.
The 77-year-old godman, who has millions of followers and runs a business empire worth over Rs 100 billion, was arrested in September 2013 for allegedly sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl in his ashram at Manai near Jodhpur. The girl was a student at the godman’s school in Chhindwara in Madhya Pradesh.
Since there have been attempts on the lives of witnesses against the godman, the security for the victim’s family – who live in Shahjahanpur in Uttar Pradesh – has been increased.
The authorities have enforced ban orders in Jodhpur from April 25 to April 30 to maintain law and order, considering what happened during the arrest of two other godmen – Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh and Rampal in Haryana.
Apart from this case, the godman and his son Narayan Sai are also facing rape charges by two sisters from Surat in Gujarat.
The life of Asaram Bapu is a rags-to-riches-to-disgrace story.
Born in Pakistan, Asaram Bapu came to Gujarat with his family as a seven-year-old boy. In 1963, his family moved to Ajmer in Rajasthan where Asaram started plying a tonga (pony cart) to ferry passengers between the city railway station and the famous Muslim shrine Ajmer Sharif Dargah. He used to be known by the name of Asumal in those days. After a couple of years as a tonga man, Asaram left for Ahmedabad to become a godman.
At the time of his arrest five years ago, the godman had millions of followers in India and around the world and ran a business empire worth over Rs 10,000 crore.