A day after creating a furore by suggesting that the Delhi gangrape victim should have begged the assaulters for mercy, godman Asaram Bapu on Tuesday called the media “barking dogs”.
He said, “I still maintain: Why should I run behind the dogs? First one dog barked. Then another dog barked. Soon all the dogs in the neighbourhood started barking. Now if the elephant runs behind the dogs, their (the dogs) value increases and that of the elephant comes down.”
Asaram’s statement was seen as a response to the sharp media criticism of his statement that the victim should have called the rapists her brothers and begged them for forgiveness.
Asaram, 73, has in the past few years courted more than a dozen controversies, including serious allegations of murder, land grabbing, molestation and assaults on mediapersons by his followers.
He runs more than 300 ashrams in the country and abroad and claims to have more than 20 million followers.
He had also said the fault was not one-sided and the rapists wouldn’t have done so if they had taken diksha (initiation in his teachings) and the girl should have chanted hymns that could have saved her life.
Later, he took a U-turn, saying both his statements – on the victim as also on the media – were misconstrued.
“I love even snakes. How can I hate the media? I didn’t even say anything against the victim. How could I have? My heart was saddened by what happened to her,” Asaram told the media later.
“I said it in a different context: husbands and wives come to me to seek advice when they quarrel, and I say the fault is never one-sided. But the media mistook it. Hear my discourses for half an hour and you will have good feelings for me.”