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Asaram gets life imprisonment for rape of minor girl in his ashram in 2013

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Asaram and two accomplices convicted for rape of minor girl in his ashram in 2013

A Jodhpur court today sentenced self-styled godman Asaram to life in prison and two of his accomplices to 20 years jail for raping a 16-year-old girl in his ashram near Jodhpur five years ago.

Last year in August, another self-proclaimed godman Gurmeet Ram Rahim was also convicted of sexual offence.

Special Judge (SC/ST court) Madhusudhan Sharma delivered the verdict in the Jodhpur Central jail premises on Wednesday, April 25. Two of four co-accused Shilpi and Sharat Chandra were also been convicted and awarded 20 years imprisonment each.

The girl from Shahajahanpur in Uttar Pradesh was studying at the godman’s ashram at Chhindwara in Madhya Pradesh. The victim had alleged that Asaram called her to his ashram in Manai area near Jodhpur and raped her on the night of August 15, 2013.

On August 20, the parents of the victim filed a complaint in Delhi and later the case was transferred to Jodhpur police.

On August 23, supporters of Asaram Bapu attacked Kamla Market police station in Delhi. Five days later, victim’s father demanded death for Asaram Bapu, while the godman’s son described the minor as mentally unstable.

The chargesheet against Asaram and four other co-accused Shiva, Shilpi, Sharad and Prakash was filed by the police on November 6, 2013 under various sections of the POSCO Act, Juvenile Justice Act and IPC.

The 77-year-old Asaram was arrested in Indore and brought to Jodhpur on September 1, 2013. He is under judicial custody since September 2, 2013. Asaram unsuccessfully moved 12 bail applications, of which six were rejected by the trial court, three by the Rajasthan high court and three by the Supreme Court.

Final arguments in the Asaram case were completed on April 7 and the court had kept the order reserved for April 25.

Arguments for the quantum of sentencing were going on inside the heavily fortified jail premises, where the trial court delivered its verdict in accordance with the directions of the Rajasthan High Court.

Asaram is also facing a rape case in Surat in Gujarat in which the Supreme Court earlier this month gave five weeks time to the prosecution to complete the trial. This case relates to the complaint of rape filed by two sisters from Surat on October 6, 2013 against Asaram and his son Narayan Sai. Apart from rape, he was also facing charges of murder, black magic, to name a few.

The elder sister, in her complaint against Asaram, had accused him of repeated sexual assaults between 2001 and 2006 when she was staying at his ashram near Ahmedabad.

“We had complete faith in the judiciary and are happy that we got justice,” her father told journalists after the verdict came in. The family, he said, had been living in constant terror and their business was hit.

Asaram had started off from a hut on the banks of the Sabarmati and went on to create a Rs 10,000 crore empire with 400 ashrams in India and other parts of the world in four decades.

Apprehending trouble from Asaram’s followers, security was stepped up in Jodhpur where prohibitory orders were imposed ahead of the verdict. The Centre had asked Rajasthan, Gujarat and Haryana governments to tighten security and deploy additional forces as the three states have a large number of Asaram followers.

The Union Home Ministry had sent an advisory fearing a repeat of the violence in Punjab and Haryana that followed the conviction of Gurmeet Ram Rahim in August last year, when 13 people were killed. He was convicted in a 2002 rape case and sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Reactions

Ashok Gehlot (Congress): The time has come when people should be able to differentiate between the actual saints and the frauds, as this creates a bad image of the country in the international arena.

Father of Shahjahanpur victim: Asaram is convicted, we have got justice. I want to thank everyone who supported us in this fight. Now I hope he will get strict punishment. I also hope the witnesses who were murdered or kidnapped get justice.

Neelam Dubey (Spokesperson for Asaram): We will discuss with our legal team and then decide our future course of action. We have confidence in our judiciary.

Former IPS officer and an acquitted accused in the Sohrabuddin case, DG Vanzara came out in support of rape convict Asaram. “There is no charge of rape. The charge is that he inappropriately touched the victim. I am a follower of Asaram,” said Vanzara.

Mahendra Chawla (main eyewitness in the Asaram’s son Narayan Sai’s sexual assault case): Though I have security, I request the Centre for additional security, my life, like other witnesses’, is constantly under threat.

India News

Allahabad High Court refuses to ban ongoing puja at Vyas Tehkhana inside Gyanvapi mosque complex, grants permission for worship to continue

Advocate Vishnu Shankar Jain who is representing the Hindu side said today the Allahabad High Court has dismissed the first appeal from orders of Anjuman Intezamia which was directed against the order of 17th and 31st January and the effect of the order is that the ongoing puja in the Vyas Tehkhana of Gyanvapi complex will continue.

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The Allahabad High Court on Monday dismissed the Gyanvapi Mosque committee’s appeal challenging the Varanasi district court’s decision to offer prayers in a cellar in the Gyanvapi mosque complex. Justice Rohit Ranjan Agarwal of the Allahabad high court pronounced the judgement.

He said after going through the entire records of the case and after considering arguments of the parties concerned, the court did not find any ground to interfere in the judgement passed by the District judge dated 17.01.2024 appointing DM, Varanasi as receiver of the property as well as the order dated 31.01.2024 by which the district high court had permitted puja in the Tehkhana.

Advocate Prabhash hailed the verdict and said it is a big victory of Sanatana Dharma. The judge dismissed the pleas that the Muslim side had filed against the District judge’s order. He said this means that the puja will continue as it is. The District magistrate will continue as the receiver of the Tehkhana and the Muslim side can go for a review of the decision.

Another Advocate Vishnu Shankar Jain who is representing the Hindu side said today the Allahabad High Court has dismissed the first appeal from orders of Anjuman Intezamia which was directed against the order of 17th and 31st January and the effect of the order is that the ongoing puja in the Vyas Tehkhana of Gyanvapi complex will continue. He said if the Anjuman Intezamia comes to the Supreme Court, then they will file their caveat before the top court.

The Varanasi court on January 31 had ruled that the Hindu side can offer prayers in the southern cellar of Gyanvapi masjid – the Vyas Tehkhana. The court had also directed the District magistrate to make arrangements for prayers and a priest which is nominated by Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple Trust.

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MEA rejects reports about Indians seeking early discharge from Russian Army

The Ministry has clarified that India is actively pursuing all cases related to the issue and that some Indians have already been discharged.

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The Ministry of External Affairs on Monday issued a statement denouncing several media reports claiming that Indians serving in the Russian Army are seeking an early discharge. The Ministry has clarified that India is actively pursuing all cases related to this issue and some Indians have already been discharged.

The statement was issued following a report that stated some Indians are working as security staff in the Russian Army and are forced to fight alongside the Russian soldiers in the conflict zone of the Ukraine War.

The statement further added that every case brought to the attention of the Indian Embassy in Moscow has been strongly taken up by the Russian authorities. Furthermore, the matters that have been brought to the attention of the Ministry of External Affairs have also been taken up with the Russian embassy in New Delhi. 

The Ministry of External Affairs also mentioned that it remains committed and its priority is to actively pursue all relevant cases of the Indian nationals for early discharge from the Russian army with the Russian authorities.

Addressing a press conference on Friday, Randhir Jaiswal, spokesperson for the External Affairs Ministry mentioned that the ministry is aware of Indian nationals who have signed up for support jobs with the Russian Army. He further advised all the Indian nationals to be cautious and steer clear of the Ukraine conflict. 

Meanwhile, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen [AIMIM] leader, Asaduddin Owaisi had urged the External Affairs Ministry to rescue the Indians. He asked External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on X, formerly Twitter on Wednesday, to use his offices to bring those men back home, adding that their lives are at risk and their families are justifiably worried.

Reportedly, a 23-year-old Indian named Hemil Mangukiya had died in a missile strike in Russia on February 21. He has been working as a helper in the country and had reportedly been inducted into the war zone on the Ukraine Border.

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Gujarat: Prime Minister Narendra Modi holds roadshow in Rajkot

Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a roadshow in Rajkot after inspecting AIIMS Rajkot during his visit to Gujarat

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a roadshow in Rajkot, Gujarat on Sunday. People showered flower petals on the Prime Minister as he greeted and waved to his supporters and walked to the venue. The supporters chanted Modi Modi and a large number people lined up on both sides of the road.

Earlier today PM Modi took blessings from Dwarka Shankaracharya Swami Sadanand Saraswati. The Prime Minister offered prayers at Gujarat’s famous Lord Krishna temple – Dwarkadish on Sunday morning. The majestic Dwarkadhish Temple is situated at the cusp of Gomti River and the Arabian Sea in Gujarat and it is an important hindu pilgrimage site for vaishnavites, especially the devotees of Lord Krishna who is called Dwarkadhish, or King of Dwarka

The Dwarkadhish temple is one of the Char Dham. The Prime minister was also gifted an idol of Lord Krishna by the priests of the temple. Earlier the day PM Modi inaugurated Sudarshan Setu, the country’s longest cable-stayed bridge which spans around 2.32km. It collects the Okha mainland and Beyt Dwarka in Gujarat.

The Prime Minister dedicated to the nation projects worth over Rs 4,150 crore during the inauguration. He laid foundation stone of multiple development projects in Dwarka during his two-day visit to Gujarat. The Prime Minister posted on X and said he was delighted to inaugurate Sudarshan Setu today – a bridge which connects lands and people. He said the bridge stands as a testament to his government’s commitment to development and progress. The bridge was earlier known as signature bridge and has been renamed Sudarshan Setu.

Beyt Dwarka is an island near Okha port which approximately at distance of 30 km from Dwarka town, where the famous Dwarkadhish temple of Lord Krishna is situated. It is linked to the Okha mainland and the Beyt Dwarka island in Gujarat.

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