Self-styled godman Asaram Bapu was convicted for raping a teenage female devotee and was sentenced to life imprisonment by a Jodhpur court on Wednesday (Apr 25).
Here is a timeline of the Asaram Bapu rape case:
1. In August 2013, a 16-year-old female devotee accused Asaram Bapu of raping her at his ashram in Jodhpur’s Manai village on the pretext of exorcism.
2. The girl’s parents, both disciples of the 77-year-old godman, filed a police complaint at Kamla Nagar police station in Delhi on August 20, 2013.
3. A medical examination confirmed that the girl was indeed sexually assaulted.
4. A case was registered. Asaram Bapu was booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) after he did not appear for police interrogation in the case by August 31, 2013.
5. Instead, Asaram Bapu remained inside his Indore ashram to avoid arrest, while clashes broke out between his disciples and journalists and policemen outside the ashram.
6. The Jodhpur police finally arrested him from his ashram on Sept 1, 2013.
7. Initially, Bapu refuted all charges against him and claimed that he is impotent. But the claim was dismissed after he passed the potency test.
8. Since then, he has been in jail. His bail petitions were denied multiple times.
9. Between 2014-2015, witnesses in the Asaram Bapu rape case were allegedly attacked by the godman’s disciples.
10. His former aide Amrut Prajapati was shot dead on May 23, 2014 after he became a witness in the case.
11. On Apr 25, 2018, the Jodhpur Schedule Caste and Schedule Tribe Court pronounced him guilty of the charges.
12. The court awarded life imprisonment to Asaram Bapu, while two of his co-accused were sentenced to 20 years in jail each.
13. The judgement was pronounced inside the Jodhpur Central Jail. The alleged godman reportedly broke down on hearing the verdict.
Pic: Video grab
Sreya is based in Kolkata. She is a Senior Editor of Big Wire.