Rape: Self-styled spiritual Guru sentenced to life imprisonment in India

Asaram Bapu

A self-styled Indian spiritual guru, who claims millions of followers worldwide, has been given a life sentence for raping a 16-year-old girl.

Asaram Bapu greets his supporters as he arrives for a hearing at a court in Jodhpur

Asaram Bapu greets his supporters as he arrives for a hearing at a court in Jodhpur

Asaram Bapu carried out the 2013 attack at his ashram in the northern city of Jodhpur, the court ruled. He is expected to appeal.

According to the BBC, the 77-year-old guru has 400 ashrams around the world where he teaches meditation and yoga.

He is also on trial in another rape case in western Gujarat state.

Jodhpur is on high alert because of concerns there could be violence from the guru’s supporters, reports BBC.

“Nothing can compensate for the trauma that the victim and the family have gone through,” Utsav Bains, the victim’s lawyer, told NDTV ahead of sentencing.

The security measures come after followers of another guru, Gurmeet Ram Rahim, ran amok after he was found guilty of rape last year. The resulting violence killed 23 people.

Asaram was arrested in 2013 after a case of sexual assault was filed against him by two of his followers, who alleged that he had assaulted their daughter.

Police say that the couple, who had sent the girl to one of his ashrams for spiritual lessons, was summoned to see her as she was “under the influence of some supernatural ghostly powers”.

They were then told to take their daughter to Jodhpur to meet the guru.

The family reached the Jodhpur ashram on 14 August. The following night, Asaram called the victim to his room on the pretext of “curing” her.

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He then raped the victim while her parents waited outside chanting his prayers, police say.

Police say the guru forced the victim to perform sexual acts on him and threatened to murder her family if she spoke about the incident.

The victim told her parents what had happened the following day. They tried to confront Asaram but were refused entry to his ashrams.

SOURCE: BBC

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