Indian guru, Asaram Bapu, sentenced to life for raping girl
A self-styled Indian spiritual guru who claims millions of followers worldwide has been given a life sentence for raping a 16-year-old girl. Asaram Bapu was convicted of the 2013 attack on the girl, a devotee at his ashram in Jodhpur, by a court in the city’s jail. He is expected to appeal. The guru, who is 77, has 400 ashrams around the world where he teaches meditation and yoga.
He is also on trial in another rape case in western Gujarat state. Jodhpur is on high alert because of concerns there could be violence from the guru’s supporters, reports BBC Hindi’s Priyanka Dubey who is in the city. The judge delivered his verdict from the city’s jail because of concerns that it could provoke riots.
Two of the guru’s aides were also convicted and given 20-year jail terms. Two more were acquitted. “Nothing can compensate for the trauma that the victim and the family have gone through,” Utsav Bains, the victim’s lawyer, told NDTV ahead of sentencing. The security measures come after followers of another guru, Gurmeet Ram Rahim, ran amok after he was found guilty of rape last year. The resulting violence killed 23 people.