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HindustanTimes Mon,01 Sep 2014

Asaram's supporters attack media, six arrested

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Jodhpur, August 31, 2013
First Published: 09:31 IST(31/8/2013) | Last Updated: 11:44 IST(31/8/2013)

Hundreds of supporters of self-styled spiritual guru Asaram allegedly attacked a team of news channel IBN-7 on Saturday morning near his ashram in Pal area. A reporter and a video journalist of the channel sustained injuries and their camera and equipment were damaged before villagers living near the ashram rescued them.

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The police said they have identified the attackers and strict action will be taken against them. Reports said the police have already arrested six persons from outside the ashram.
 
The incident took place at around 9am, when the TV channel crew had gone to the ashram to report about a gathering of Asaram's supporters even as the controversial godman evaded arrest in a sexual assault case filed against him by a minor.
 
A group of his supporters took advantage of the police's absence at the ashram to assault the channel crew and damage their camera. "We were rescued by some villagers but the police took one hour to reach the site," said the channel's reporter Bhawani Singh.
 
He alleged that senior police officers didn't pick their phone calls and a few policemen reached the site only after the police control room was informed.
 
His supporters have been gathering in Jodhpur since the last two days and more that 2,000 people from different parts of the country have already assembled here. Deputy police commissioner (West) Ajay Pal Lamba claimed on Friday that the police is aware of the situation and will tackle it accordingly.
 
Lamba added that additional police force, including four companies of the Rajasthan Armed Constabulary (RAC), have been kept on alert. Women constables have also been called from the neighboring districts.
 
"Supporters are coming here to express their sentiments and emotions towards Asaram and all are observing satsang peacefully," Chanchal Raj Sharma, an ashram spokesperson said.

On Saturday, Lamba informed that no more supporters of Asaram were being allowed to come into Jodhpur and that six people had been arrested in front of Asaram's ashram.
 
The Jodhpur Police had asked Asaram to appear before the police for questioning by August 30 based on a girl's complaint on August 20, accusing him of sexually assaulting her at his ashram in Rajasthan's Jodhpur city. The deadline lapsed last night and his arrest seems likely now.


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