New Delhi: A special trial court on Wednesday found self styled godman Asaram of guilty of raping a teenager in 2013.
Of the total five accused, three – including Asaram – were convicted, and two were acquitted.
The verdict was pronounced from Jodhpur Central Jail, where Asaram is lodged. This move was due to the fear of adverse reactions from Asaram’s followers, and a repeat of the violence that followed the verdict in the Gurmeet Ram Rahim case case last August.
“Asaram is convicted, we have got justice. I want to thank everyone who supported us in this fight. Now I hope he will get strict punishment,” said the father of the rape survivor.
“We will discuss with our legal team and then decide our future course of action. We have confidence in our judiciary,” said Neelam Dubey, Asaram spokesperson, after the verdict was announced, to ANI news agency.
Congress has said that after the verdict people should be able to differentiate between frauds and actual saints.
The time has come when people should be able to differentiate between the actual saints and the frauds, as this creates a bad image of the country in the international arena: Ashok Gehlot, Congress on #Asaram convicted in rape case pic.twitter.com/rTFZW3WgdT
— ANI (@ANI) April 25, 2018
Asaram, who’s been in jail since August 31, 2013, was accused of sexual assault on a 16-year-old girl at his ashram in Manai village near Jodhpur, Rajasthan. The girl, who’s from Uttar Pradesh, was living in the ashram as a student. She alleged that Asaram called her to his ashram in Manai area near Jodhpur and raped her on the night of August 15, 2013.
Asaram, who’s said to be 77 currently, was charged under sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. Over the course of the trial, Asaram unsuccessfully moved 12 bail applications, of which six were rejected by the trial court, three by the Rajasthan high court and three by the Supreme Court.