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HindustanTimes Wed,20 Aug 2014

Asaram Bapu booked for sexual abuse

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, August 21, 2013
First Published: 11:39 IST(21/8/2013) | Last Updated: 10:45 IST(22/8/2013)

Self-styled godman Asaram Bapu was on Wednesday booked on charges of forcing a 16-year-old girl into unnatural sex at a Jodhpur ashram a week ago.

After the minor filed a complaint with the Kamla Market police station in New Delhi on Tuesday, she underwent a medical examination that confirmed the sexual assault, a police official said. An FIR filed at the station was transferred to Jodhpur police, which will probe the matter.

Jodhpur deputy commissioner of police Ajaypal Lamba told reporters the girl was studying at a school run by Asaram in Chhindwara, Madhya Pradesh.

“According to the complaint, the girl had fallen ill at the school and the authorities had advised her parents to take her to Asaram who would do a special puja for her cure,” Lamba said.

After a satsang (religious assembly), Asaram had moved to his private ashram in Manai, 20km from Johdpur and called the girl there on August 14. A day later, he asked the girl’s family members to sit separately at different places for a puja.

He then took the girl into his room and allegedly forced her into unnatural sex, threatening her that his guards would eliminate her family if she refused, Lamba said.

However, Asaram’s spokesman Sunil Wankhede said, "The girl says the incident took place on Aug 15 at Jodhpur. But Asaram Bapu left Jodhpur on Aug 11, so how could this be true?"

"We will take legal action against the girl,” he said.

A native of Uttar Pradesh's Shahjahanpur district, the traumatised girl kept mum about the assault but broke down a couple of days later, the police said.
 
Her family decided to confront Asaram on Tuesday at Delhi's Ramlila Maidan, where he was delivering a public sermon. When the family members were not allowed to meet him, they went to the Kamla Market police.

In January, he triggered a massive public uproar when he told the media the Delhi gangrape victim could have saved herself by addressing her violators as brothers and asking for mercy.


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