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From Godman to Rapist

Friday, April 27, 2018

From the high pedestal of a preacher having thousands of followers, self-styled godman Asaram’s fall from grace came after he was embroiled in the case of rape of a minor. He created an empire of Rs. 10,000 crores within four decades, starting from a humble hut on the banks of the Sabarmati river in the early 70s to over 400 ashrams across the country and the world. A self-styled Godman has set up an empire and now he is in big trouble for his selfish act of rape. Asaram ran into troubled waters for the first time in 2008, when two cousins, who used to stay at the 'gurukul of Asaram’s ashram in Motera, were found dead under mysterious circumstances on the riverbed near the ashram in 2008. So, the sins committed by Asaram did not allow him to enjoy his freedom and now landed him behind bars. Now, he can dance behind bars for all his life time for all his follies.
— Jayanthi S. Maniam, Sion

Glad to read that the Self-styled godman Asaram was sentenced to imprisonment till death by the Jodhpur court for raping a minor who had come to one of his ashrams for studies in 2013. Asaram had been arrested on a complaint of sexual exploitation by the 16-year-old girl from Shahjahanpur in Uttar Pradesh, who had joined his ashram at Chhindwara in Madhya Pradesh for her studies. The victim had alleged in her complaint that Asaram had called her to his ashram in Manai near Jodhpur and raped her on the night of August 15, 2013. Asaram, who started from a hut on the banks of the Sabarmati and created a Rs. 10,000 crore empire with 400 ashrams in India and other parts of the world in four decades, will be in prison till his natural death. With this, it is the strong message to all godpersons not to fool the people and take advantage of their position and situation.
— Bhagwan Thadani, Mumbai

As the most awaited decision on Asaram Bapu came, messages like ‘Finally truth prevailed’, ‘Justice delivered in Asaram Bapu case’ and truly deserved conviction of accused Asharam in a case of sexual assault on a minor girl’ started pouring in over the social media platform. Thanks to the growing cases of rapes of minors, there is an outrage in India’s common citizen. But at this juncture, the contribution of the daredevil and honest officer like Ajay Pal Lamba should be applauded as well, who left no stone unturned to ensure that justice is denounced despite all the pressure he kept on receiving but he stood steadfast. He deserves all accolades and applauds for his efforts in this case. It was on August 20, 2013, this IPS officer was put in charge of the Asaram Bapu case, one of the most high-profile and media-monitored cases in recent times. During the time he took charge of this case, he was Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Jodhpur West. Five years down the line, his efforts paid off and a special court in Jodhpur convicted Asaram of raping a minor girl at his Jodhpur ashram. This self-proclaimed godman now faces a minimum jail time of ten years. However, the quantum of sentence is yet to be pronounced. At this juncture, we need to salute this honest and dare devil officer Ajay Pal Lamba for staying steady and calm in the face of extreme pressure and ensuring that a meticulous and impartial investigation was conducted. I wish him the very best in life and sincerely hope that he continues to inspire and restore confidence in our country’s justice system. Hope the other officers in our country get inspiration from him and they deliver their responsibilities with honesty and integrity without falling prey to the politicians who mess up things for their own interest.
— Mohd. Zeyaullah Khan, Nagpur

A few non-political intellectuals have decided to come together with the sole aim of defeating the BJP, but without participating in the electoral politics. Also, some followers of the convicted godman Asaram Bapu have too vowed to oppose the BJP tooth and nail. In this holy task, these two enlightened entities can join hands and declare their wholehearted support to the candidates, to be fielded by the secular alliance for the LS polls of 2019.
— Arun Malankar, Santacruz

Controversial godman, Asaram Bapu, convicted of rape by the Jodhpur court, had rubbed shoulders with the high and mighty of Indian politics. In their bid to woo Asaram, who had crores of followers, political heavyweights ranging from former Prime Ministers, chief ministers, and top political leaders of every hue and colour made a beeline to pay obeisance to this man. In the 2015 Bihar Assembly polls, striking back at the BJP for its attacks on Bihar CM Nitish Kumar on the issue of meeting a tantrik, the JD(U) had dug out an old photograph of Prime Minister Narendra Modi meeting Asaram Bapu. Kumar was then part of the JD(U)-RJD-led Grand Secular Alliance. After the conviction, the Congress released a video of Modi with the controversial preacher. The video shows Modi, during his tenure as Gujarat chief minister, sharing a dais with Asaram. Former Prime Ministers who had visited Bapu include Atal Behari Vajpayee and H.D. Deve Gowda. BJP chief ministers, Vasundhara Raje, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Raman Singh and Prem Kumar Dhumal and Akali Dal’s, Prakash Singh Badal had reportedly offered state guest status to Asaram. Among top Congress leaders who had queued up to seek his blessings were Digvijay Singh, Ashok Gehlot, Motilal Vora and Kamal Nath. Other top leaders like L.K. Advani, Farooq Abdullah, George Fernan-des and Raghuvansh Prasad Singh had often shared the dais with the convict. With this, the dirty game of a godman and the politicians have been exposed.
— B.B. Thadani, Mumbai


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