A Gandhinagar Classes Courtroom’s resolution Tuesday to offer the life sentence to Asumal Harpalani, popularly often known as Asaram Bapu, in a rape case marks one more fall for the self-styled godman who had as soon as been a strong determine within the nation with an enormous following and affinity with necessary political personalities throughout social gathering traces.
That is the second conviction for Asaram in a rape case. Earlier, in April 2018, he was convicted for raping a 16-year-old lady in Jodhpur, Rajasthan. Each rape instances — in Jodhpur and Gandhinagar — had been registered in 2013.
Earlier than falling into shame, Asaram was a well-liked non secular guru. After beginning his first ashram on the banks of the Sabarmati river in Ahmedabad within the Seventies, he established a multi-crore enterprise empire — consisting of assorted merchandise and non secular literature — that continued to develop whereas he went on establishing ashrams throughout the nation. With that, the variety of his followers additionally elevated and bumped into lakhs. A month-to-month publication of the Asaram Ashram, Rishi Prasad, had an enormous circulation amongst his followers.
With such affect, Asaram’s political followers additionally elevated, chopping throughout social gathering traces and he additionally had a powerful following in Gujarat’s paperwork. Among the political leaders who had been seen with Asaram throughout his prime days embrace the then chief minister of Gujarat and present Prime Minister Narendra Modi, former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, former Deputy Prime Minister L Ok Advani, and senior Congress leaders Kamal Nath and Digvijaya Singh. Retired IPS officer D G Vanzara, who was in jail in reference to three alleged pretend encounter instances and was later discharged, was additionally identified to be amongst his followers. Vanzara had launched a celebration, the Praja Vijay Paksh, which contested some seats within the Meeting polls in December however misplaced in all.
On situation of anonymity, a senior Congress chief mentioned, “He (Asaram) had political followers across party lines. Kamal Nath was considered very close to him. However, he was more close to BJP leaders.”
Asaram began dealing with stiff challenges from 2008 onwards, when two minor boys finding out at a residential gurukul run by his belief went lacking on July 3, 2008. Their our bodies had been discovered on the Sabarmati riverbed two days later. The incident was adopted by an enormous public agitation in opposition to the self-styled godman and his ashram. The 2 boys had been cousins and their mother and father alleged their sons had fallen prey to some exorcist within the ashram.
Public protests within the episode continued for days, following which the Gujarat authorities appointed a judicial fee headed by retired Gujarat Excessive Courtroom decide D Ok Trivedi to probe the circumstances through which the 2 boys went lacking.
Asaram was identified for his grand annual celebration of Guru Purnima at his Ahmedabad ashram. The Guru Purnima celebration of 2008 fell on July 18, when the protest in opposition to him was at its peak. It turned violent after inmates of his ashram attacked the media, which had assembled to cowl the occasion.
Following the protest, the police registered a case of inflicting demise by negligence in opposition to seven ashram inmates who had been related with the gurukul from which the 2 boys had gone lacking. In the meantime, the mother and father of the 2 boys proceed demanding a CBI probe within the case. In 2019, the D Ok Trivedi Fee submitted its report back to the state authorities through which it gave Asaram a clear chit within the episode.
Nevertheless, Asaram’s actual problem got here in 2013, when two instances of rape had been registered in opposition to him in Jodhpur and Gandhinagar. His son Narayan Sai too was booked in different related instances. A number of witnesses within the rape instances, pending trial in several elements of the nation, had been discovered useless. One among them, Amrut Prajapati, was shot useless in Rajkot in 2014, allegedly by one of many self-styled godman’s followers.
Commenting on Asaram’s conviction, the daddy one of many gurukul boys who was discovered useless mentioned, “It is good that he has been convicted. Our society believes in religion and when a religious guru does such acts, he has to be given exemplary punishment, so that it can deter other such religious gurus.”