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Jodhpur police will question Asaram

A case of carnal intercourse under Section 377 of unnatural sex of the IPC has been registered against Asaram.

Vatsala Shrangi  New Delhi | 24th Aug 2013

Asaram Bapu allegedly raped the victim at the pretext of curing her of evil effects.PTI

elf-styled godman Asaram Bapu, who has been accused of sexually assaulting a minor girl in Jodhpur last week, will be questioned by the Jodhpur police, following investigation in the case. A case of carnal intercourse under Section 377 of unnatural sex (in case of minors) of the IPC has been registered against Asaram. The girl and her family are in Jodhpur. Jodhpur police commissioner Biju George Joseph said, "The medical report of the girl confirms molestation. We are in the process of collecting evidences. The evidences will need to be reviewed which will be done by the end of this week. The ashram where the alleged crime took place has been sealed."

The FIR along with other documents has been transferred to the Mahila Thana of Jodhpur West district. The Assistant Commissioner of Police and investigating officer in the case, Chanchal Mishra said, "The interrogation will be on the grounds that it appears prima facie that he and the victim were present at his ashram in the city on 14-15 August, when the assault allegedly took place."

According to the police, the girl, a resident of Shahjahanpur in Uttar Pradesh, was a Class 12 student at Asaram's gurukul at Chhindwara, Madhya Pradesh. She was studying there for the past four years. The victim's family has been the Asaram Bapu's disciple for years. In the first week of August she told the gurukul staff that she was suffering from stomach pain. When her family visited her at the school, the Ashram authorities advised them that she was under the influence of a spirit and that Asaram, who was then in Jodhpur, would be able to cure her by conducting a Yagna.

"When the victim's parents took her to Jodhpur on 12 August and contacted Asaram, he told them that a special ritual will have to be observed for the betterment of her health, but in isolation. He invited them to his private ashram at the village Manai, 20 km from Jodhpur on 14 August and observed the ritual with her parents on the same night. But next day, he said that the second ritual will have to be observed with the girl alone in his room. On the night of 15 August, Asaram took the girl to his private chamber and allegedly exploited her sexually, threatening her that his guards would eliminate her family if she protested," said a senior Jodhpur police official.

The girl broke down on 17 August and related the ordeal to her parents in their hometown in UP. After which they came down to Delhi to talk to Asaram about it at the Ramlila Maidan on 19 August where he was giving a public sermon.

But the family was not allowed to meet him, upon which they approached the police. The police then sent the girl for medical examination at the capital's LNJP hospital which confirmed sexual assault. On the basis of the medical report on 20 August, the police lodged an FIR in the case.

The case was transferred to Jodhpur police on 22 August.

However, refuting all allegations Asaram's chief spokesperson Sunil Wankhede said from the ashram headquarters in Gujarat, "The allegations are false and an attempt to defame Asaram Bapu by people of other communities who want to convert Hindus. Our legal cell is working on the matter. Bapu may file an anticipatory bail in a Rajasthan court in this regard. Since past five years such false cases have been framed to create controversy against him. It has hurt the sentiments of his followers."

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