Ahead of the verdict by the trial court against selfstyled godman Asaram Bapu in the rape case today, Jodhpur turned into a fortress with security beefed up at all entry points like railway and bus stations besides hotels and dharamshalas. Asaram, however has declined that he raped the girl, and his supporters have been furiously leading a social media campaign to spread the message that he is innocent. A case was lodged against Asaram and four others - Sanchita alias Shilpi, Sharad Chandra alias Sharat Chandra, Prakash and Shiva alias Sava Ram Hethvadiya - who were associates of Asaram at that time. The court has let off the other two accused.
After arriving at the Jodhpur Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Court at around 8 am, judge Madhusudan Sharma moved proceedings to a courtroom on the jail premises, where the order was delivered. The five charges that are levelled against Asaram Bapu are, raping minor girl, wrongful confinement, criminal intimidation, criminal conspiracy and sexual harassment.
Asaram was arrested in Indore and brought to Jodhpur on September 1, 2013. Gupta was a witness in the rape case against Asaram and had recorded his statement before a Gandhinagar court. The self-styled godman could be handed out a punishment of up to 10 years in prison.
11 June 2014: Former Asaram aide and witness in Surat case, Amrut Prajapati, shot at in a Rajkot hospital.
Rajasthan, Gujarat and Haryana have a large number of followers of Asaram.
Elaborate security arrangements were made and prohibitory orders issued in the city fearing violence from followers of Asaram. Police have already imposed Section 144 in Jodhpur from April 21 which will stay till April 30 to keep the situation under control in the aftermath of a negative verdict.
However, despite registration of the case, the victims in the surat rape case were not examined despite the court's order.
In November 2013, the Jodhpur police filed chargesheet against Asaram Bapu and four co-accused in the rape case. The elder sister accused Asaram of repeatedly sexual assaulting her between 2001 and 2006.
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