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Asaram rape case verdict: Buzz missing outside ashram of ‘godman’ in Ahmedabad

Gujarat police have stepped up security outside Asaram’s two ashrams in Ahmedabad and Surat.

Asaram Verdict Updated: Apr 26, 2018 00:07 IST
Hiral Dave and Salik Ahmad
Hiral Dave and Salik Ahmad
Hindustan Times, Ahmedabad/Jodhpur
Asaram Bapu,Jodhpur,Legal Case
Police personnel in front of Asaram’s ashram in Ahmedabad on Wednesday.(AP Photo)

Outside the ashram of self-styled godman Asaram at Motera on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, the usual buzz was missing on Wednesday. At the entrance to the ashram, which is packed with his followers and staff on other days, only police and media personnel were to be seen.

In small groups, Asaram’s followers had arrived early in the morning for their daily routine of holding prayers and chanting shlokas behind the tall, grilled gates of the sprawling ashram on the banks of the Sabarmati river. Many of them tried to avoid the media and all that some of them had to say in response to questions was “Hari Om”.

The only statement came from DG Vanzara, a former Indian Police Service officer who is an accused in the alleged fake encounter of Ishrat Jahan, a case which dates back to 2004.

“Neither the FIR (first information report) nor the charge sheet anywhere mentions that it was a case of rape. Even the complainant girl never used the word ‘rape’,” said Vanzara, brandishing a copy of the FIR. “We do respect the court’s judgement but the Constitution of India offers a four-layer judiciary system, from local to the Supreme Court. I am confident that the high court will acquit him.”

Gujarat police had stepped up security outside Asaram’s two ashrams in the state, in Ahmedabad and Surat. More than 50 police personnel, led by a deputy commissioner of police, were deployed at the Motera ashram; around 40 policemen were maintaining vigil in the Sabarmati area and around 100 police as well as personnel from the State Reserve Police Force were deployed at various places in Chandkheda, deputy commissioner of police HR Muliana said.

“Adequate police force was deployed since morning outside Asaram’s another ashram in Jahangirpura area of Surat district,” a police official said.

“No untoward incident anywhere in Gujarat was reported. Adequate security measures have been taken to maintain law and order,” said deputy chief minister Nitin Patel.

In Rajasthan’s Jodhpur, the white two-storey cottage where the 16-year-old girl was raped by Asaram wore a similarly deserted look. It is partially shrouded by trees in the middle of a farm. The cottage was built by Vishnu Deora, one of Asaram’s over 20 million devotees, some 30km from Jodhpur. The road leading to Deora’s estate is deserted and marked by scant vegetation on both sides and the intermittent sight of cattle resting under the shade of trees.

First Published: Apr 25, 2018 23:29 IST