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Asaram rape case: Woman’s family under police protection, seeks strict punishment

A police picket with three constables and an assistant sub-inspector has been deployed outside the woman’s home and security personnel stationed in areas close to the area

Asaram Verdict Updated: Apr 25, 2018 15:14 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Bareilly
Asaram rape case,Asaram rape verdict,Asaram
Jodhpur Police personnel are on guard around the Jodhpur Central Jail where self-styled godman Asaram is lodged. A special court will pronounce the verdict in a 2013 rape case. (PTI Photo)

The district administration in Shahjahanpur town in Uttar Pradesh tightened security near the house of the woman raped by Asaram in 2013, who was a minor at the time, ahead of a special court in Rajasthan’s Jodhpur convicting him.

“We are aware of the law and order challenges which may come up after the judgement. We have made arrangements for the security to the girl and her family,” Shahjahanpur’s superintendent of police KB Singh had said.

Singh said a police picket with three constables and an assistant sub-inspector has been deployed outside the woman’s residence and security personnel stationed in areas close to the area.

“A circle officer is monitoring the security arrangements. He is in touch with the family and can call additional force if required,” he added.

The woman’s family members said they were expecting strict punishment for the self-styled godman.

“We have been boycotted by friends devoted to Asaram. We received threats and suffered a lot in the last five years,” the woman’s father said.

“Despite all threats, we held on with the truth and expect that court will do justice to us by awarding maximum punishment to Asaram,” he added.

Followers of Asaram reportedly distributed pamphlets in Shahjahanpur in December last year, saying that the rape allegations by the woman and her family were lies.

A complaint was lodged against Asaram and 11 others in the Chowk police station of Shahjahanpur and the case is still under investigation.

The woman was 16 when she was raped by Asaram at his ashram in Jodhpur in August 2013. Her family filed a complaint in Delhi on August 20, 2013, after which Asaram was charged with rape, wrongful confinement, sexual harassment, trafficking, criminal intimidation and criminal conspiracy.

The 79-year-old Asaram was also booked under sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012, and the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. He has been in the Jodhpur Central Jail for the last 56 months.

The quantum of sentence is yet to be pronounced. Asaram faces a minimum of 10 years in jail, going up to life imprisonment.

Stringent security measures and prohibitory orders have been put in place in Jodhpur on Wednesday and the rest of Rajasthan after a Union home ministry advisory.

Authorities have also stepped up security in Gujarat and Haryana and imposed prohibitory orders in sensitive areas, anticipating trouble by legions of followers of the influential godman, who runs about 400 ashrams across the country.

Asaram has a large support base in Rajasthan, Haryana and Gujarat, where he has been booked in a similar case.

First Published: Apr 25, 2018 10:07 IST