JAIPUR: Days after Indian godman Asaram Bapu was sent to judicial custody on September 2 by a Jodhpur court for allegedly raping a 16-year-old girl, she (the young victim) has relived the horror she suffered at the hands of the godman in his ‘dhyan ki kutiya’ (place of meditation).
Following is the statement the young girl gave against the godman before a magistrate under Section 164:
“I fell ill on August 6. I was feeling acute stomach ache. Shilpi (co-accused the sexual assault case) took me to Sharatchandra Rahi (an official of the godman’s hostel in Chhindwara in Madhya Pradesh). Shilpi told me that I was possessed by some evil soul. On August 7, my parents were informed on my brother’s cell phone about my ailments. Shilpi asked my parents to come to Chhindwara.
“My parents came to Chhindwara on August 8. They were not allowed to meet me on August 8. On August 9, Shilpi advised my parents to take me to Asaram to ‘ward off evil souls’. On August 10, my father spoke to Shiva (Asaram’s close aide who is presently in the custody of the Jodhpur police). Shiva informed my father that Bapu (Asaram) is available in Jodhpur (Rajasthan) from August 11 to August 15. He asked my father to come to Jodhpur from Chhindwara by train. Shiva gave my father the address of Asaram’s Manai Ashram in Jodhpur. We boarded Mandore Express on August 13 and reached Jodhpur on the morning of August 14. We reached the ashram, which was in fact a farmhouse.
“There were several people standing on the main gate of the ashram and the man who was deployed at the gate did not allow us to enter the ashram. We called Shiva and he asked the man to allow us to enter the ashram premises.
“As we entered the ashram, we saw Bapu sitting under a tree. He was preaching to 150 people who were sitting before him. Shiva introduced me and my parents to Bapu. Bapu asked Shiva whether I am the same girl who is under the influence of some evil spirit.
“Bapu asked us to take rest as he will perform a ritual to ward off evil souls. We were given a room in the farmhouse. Bapu called me in the evening. He was walking at that time. While walking he asked me in which class do I study and what my future plan is. I told Bapu that I want to become a chartered accountant (CA). He asked me what I will do after becoming CA. He suggested me to become a teacher and he will get me appointed as principle in his gurukul (school). He again told me that I am under the influence of some evil spirits and asked me to meet him in the evening so that he can ward off the evil souls.
“In the evening, I, along with my parents, went to Bapu’s ‘dhyan ki kutiya’ (meditation hut). He was sitting on a terrace. He went inside his kutiya, switched off the light and bolted the door from inside. He opened the rare gate of the kutiya and asked me to come inside. He told my parents to wait outside. As I entered the kutiya, it was completely dark. With the help of AC’s indicator and some light permeating from outside, I saw Bapu sitting on a bed in the room. He was keeping his body covered in white shawl.
“He asked me to see where my parents are sitting. I saw my mother sitting outside the kutiya and did not find my father there. Bapu asked me to sit close to him. As I sat close to him, he started rubbing my hand. He took off my clothes. Then, he also removed all his clothes and turned naked. He asked me to submit myself completely before him.
(The next three sentences are too graphic and edited out).
“The whole episode continued for around one and a half hours. When I found myself helpless, I started crying and shouting. He threatened me that he will get my parents killed if I don’t stop shouting. I somehow managed to escape from there. As I came outside, my mother asked what happened. I was so scared that I did not tell anything.
“We left the ashram next morning and returned to our native place at Shahjahanpur in Uttar Pradesh. There, I briefed my parents about what happened with me in Asaram’s kutiya in Jodhpur. We then came to Delhi and tried to meet Asaram. When he refused to meet us, we got a complaint registered in Kamla Nagar police station in the national capital.” (Courtesy Daily Bhaskar)