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Cottage where Asaram raped 16-year-old is now a deserted site

Cottage owner, a follower of Asaram, says the rape charge is a conspiracy by Christian missionaries and police are complicit in the case.

Asaram Verdict Updated: Apr 25, 2018 15:20 IST
Salik Ahmad
Salik Ahmad
Hindustan Times, Jodhpur
Asaram Bapu,Godman,Jodhpur
A special court in Jodhpur will deliver its verdict on Wednesday against 79-year-old self-styled godman Asaram (pictured) in the rape case inside Jodhpur Central Jail.(HT/File Photo)

The white two-storey cottage, where a 16-year-old girl was raped by self-styled godman Asaram, lies in the middle of a farm, partially shrouded by trees.

The cottage was built by Vishnu Deora, one of Asaram’s over 20 million devotees across the world, on his estate in Manai village, some 30km from Jodhpur. It is one of the hottest regions in the country where temperatures soar over 40 degree Celsius during the day.

The cottage only amplifies the glare of the parched landscape.

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. The cottage is about 500m from the gate of the estate, fenced by a wire mesh, and the owner is firm about denying entry.

Deora is also sure Asaram will be acquitted of the “concocted” charges of raping the girl five years ago. A special court will deliver its verdict on Wednesday against the 79-year-old in the rape case inside the Jodhpur Central Jail.

“Satya ki jeet hogi. Satya pareshaan ho sakta hai, parajit nahin. (The truth will prevail. Truth might face troubles, but it can’t lose),” says Deora, a commerce graduate from Jodhpur’s Jai Narain Vyas University.

The parents of the girl, a student at a school attached to Asaram’s ashram in Madhya Pradesh’s Chindwara, brought her to the self-proclaimed godman, who was living in the cottage at that time. They were told by the hostel warden that “evil spirits” had possessed the girl and Asaram could cure her.

Asaram allegedly took the girl to a separate room inside the cottage, raped her, and threatened to kill her parents if she spoke about it. She told her parents about the assault and they lodged a complaint on August 19.

Deora, who built the cottage in 2008, says all the charges against Asaram are made up.

“It’s a conspiracy by the enemies of Hindu culture, by the Christian missionaries. Police which carried out the investigation was complicit,” he alleges.

“The girl’s family never went beyond my house. The cottage is a good distance away from my place,” he says.

Deora, who manufactures Ayurvedic products and is an agriculturist, says he was 14 when he first came in touch with Asaram at a satsang or a religious talk in Ahmedabad.

“His teachings about children’s values struck a chord with me. I stopped watching films. I stopped celebrating birthdays, I do gau seva (serve the cows) instead,” he says.

He added Asaram’s teachings have helped several of his devotees overcome the addiction to alcohol and tobacco.

But others in Manai think otherwise about Asaram.

“Baba pakda gaya, achha hi hua (It was good that the godman was caught),” Ram Prakash, one among a bunch of villagers watching the news on television at a motor reconditioning shop, says.

First Published: Apr 25, 2018 07:34 IST