Protests over death of preacher’s students | india | Hindustan Times
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Protests over death of preacher’s students

Most parts of the city observed a bandh against Asaram Bapu, from whose residential school two boys went missing a fortnight ago and were later found dead, reports Rathin Das.

india Updated: Jul 18, 2008 23:52 IST
Rathin Das

It was Shravan Purnima, a day when people pay obeisance to their gurus. But most parts of this bustling city observed a bandh against religious preacher Asaram Bapu, from whose residential school two boys went missing a fortnight ago. They were later found dead.

The preacher is believed to be close to Chief Minister Narendra Modi and wields considerable clout.

Clashes broke out between Asaram Bapu’s supporters and those protesting the mysterious death of the two boys in ashram school. At least one car carrying the preacher’s devotees was set on fire in the Chandkheda area. Protesters stoned houses and the police had to resort to lathicharge and lobbing tear gas shells at various places to bring the mobs under control. Shops and schools in many areas remained closed.

Followers of the Bapu retaliated as well. At least three journalists and cameramen were injured outside Asaram Bapu’s ashram when his followers attacked them.

Deepesh and Abhishek went missing from the ashram’s residential school in Motera on July 3. Their bodies were found on the banks of the Sabarmati river two days later. The initial post-mortem report suggested the boys had died due to drowning. But the parents, both ardent followers of Asaram Bapu, suspected foul play and started an indefinite fast.