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NEW DELHI: Emboldened by the arrest of self-styled godman Asaram Bapu in September for allegedly raping a 16-year-old girl, more and more women, who were sexually exploited by the godman are coming forward to file complaints against him.
On Saturday, two sisters from Surat in Gujarat registered cases of rape against the godman and his son Narayan Sai.
In the FIR, the elder sister says she was raped by Asaram at his Ahmedabad ashram, and the younger sister was raped by his son Narayan Sai in Surat and Himmatnagar. The alleged rapes incidents too place between 2001 and 2006, the complaint says.
The two sisters were working in the medicine manufacturing unit of the godman’s ashram when the alleged rapes by Asaram and his son took place.
In their complaint, the two sisters have also named the wife (Laxmi) and daughter (Bharati) of godman Asaram Bapu as accomplices in the sexual assault on them.
Surat City police chief Rakesh Asthana confirmed that the police have registered cases against Asaram and his son Narayan Sai for “sexual assault, illegal confinement and other charges.’’
Surat City police said they are in the process of arresting the godman’s son, but the case against the godman has been transferred to Ahmedabad as the alleged rape by him took place there.
Since Asaram Bapu is in jail in Jodhpur in Rajasthan, the Gujarat Police is now seeking his transfer remand so that he can be brought to Ahmedabad to face the rape case.
The 72-year-old godman has been locked up in Jodhpur Central Jail since September 2. He was arrested from Indore on September 1 and brought to Jodhpur because he committed the alleged sexual crime in his ashram near Jodhpur.
The godman allegedly raped the girl, who is a student at the gurukul (school) run by him at Chhindwada in Madhya Pradesh, in his Manai ashram near Jodhpur on August 15.
The girl, who had fallen ill, was reportedly told by the keepers of the school that she is under the influence of spirits and needs to go to Asaram Bapu in Jodhpur where he would perform a special ritual for her health in an isolated place. When her family took the girl to Asaram Bapu out of reverence for the godman, he allegedly raped her on the night of August 15.
Two days later, she broke down and narrated her ordeal to her parents who filed an FIR against the godman.
Known for controversies, the godman outraged middle-class Indians when he suggested after the Delhi gangrape case in which a 23-year-old student was sexually assaulted and brutally injured by six maniacs on a moving bus in December, that the girl could have escaped by calling the six men her brothers and seeking forgiveness.
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