Now, Rapists come in Robes
While there is legitimate national outrage against the gangrape of the photo journalist in Mumbai, what about the trauma of the little girl, and her quest for justice?
Amit Sengupta Delhi
As we go to press, it’s been almost a week since a minor girl of 15, a child, accused Asaram Bapu of sexual assault in his (un)holy chambers in Jodhpur, one of the several swanky ashrams among the insatiably huge real estate he apparently controls in India and abroad. Her father, we are told, is a devout follower of Asaram. (So this is what he does with the little children of his followers, does he? And what do they do and teach the little children in his ashrams/schools?)
She was studying in a Chhindwara school run by the self-styled ‘godman’ and she seemed to be in perfect health, until her parents were summoned and told that she was not well. In a dubious move, she was transported from Chhindwara and taken to the Jodhpur ashram of Asaram, ostensibly to be treated with some mumbo jumbo rituals by the ‘great helmsman’ himself. There, while the mother waited outside, the ‘sant’ reportedly assaulted her in his inner chambers and indulged in perverse actions with the hapless girl for almost 90 minutes. Certainly, his closest aides too must be fully in the know of this ritual of perversity.
That the child was able to express herself after undergoing the trauma, and that her parents believed her, and that they were able to muster courage to lodge a police complaint, is itself a miracle, considering the powerful social and political networks controlled by this godman. That the little girl was the first to complain, is an uncanny conjecture, and perhaps points to darker, dirtier, untold narratives.
Indeed, what happens in the secret sanctum sanctorum of these luxury cult fortresses of this mushrooming ‘baba industry’ remains a closeted mystery, and this is the case with most of these multi-millionaire businessman babas who have turned fraudulent spiritualism into a lucrative industry, operating from their diabolical dens. Cheating vulnerable and crisis-ridden people through dubious and hypnotic traps of religious consent and fake miracles has been turned into a dangerous art-form by these charlatans and fraudulent gurus.
On August 27, the Jodhpur police apparently had to wait eight hours outside the Indore ashram of the accused, even while it was announced that Asaram was ‘meditating’. Even in this ashram, the police was reportedly ‘escorted’ by BJP leaders
The girl filed the case on August 22, 2013. An FIR was registered by the Delhi police which asked the Jodhpur police to follow up. The crime was committed in Jodhpur. The police substantiated the claims of the girl, both in Chhindwara and Jodhpur. Her version was found to be correct, including the location of the inner chambers where the crime was committed by Asaram, and the movement and location of the godman as well. Cases were registered against Asaram.
The FIR, her categorical statement under Section 164 of the CrPC, and the ‘medical examination’ corroborate the allegations that some form of sexual assault had taken place. Asaram has reportedly been booked under Section 8 of POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act), apart from Sections 376/506 of the IPC. Besides, it has been proved that he was present on the day of the assault in Jodhpur – August 15.
Asaram and his followers have earlier been accused of organized land-grabbing, goondaism and public violence. His Motera ashram in Ahmedabad is steeped in controversy, including land-grabbing charges. In August 2008, the bodies of two children, students of Asaram’s gurukul, were found near the Sabarmati Ashram. It took almost 17 days for Modi’s government to order an inquiry. There were allegations that the children’s organs were missing and that they were victims of a ‘black magic’ ritual.
Almost a week had gone by and the police of four states – Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat – simply refused to move against Asaram, who was hopping on his private/chartered aircraft from Jodhpur to Ahmedabad to Indore. His main ‘controversial’ ashram is in Ahmedabad, where he was based after the crime in Jodhpur, but, ironically, Modi maintained a deafening silence, not moving one inch against the godman who is openly patronized by top politicians of the BJP. The Jodhpur police took their own prolonged time to investigate, even while a hesitant Chief Minister of Rajasthan, Ashok Gehlot, kept on fudging.
Earlier, summons were issued to the accused. This was a total departure from precedence. They issued no summons to the accused in the Mumbai rape case, or in the Delhi gangrape case in December last year. The accused were immediately arrested and then sent to police remand, while the law took its course. Surely, the law was being subverted and preferential treatment was given to the godman to protect him despite the crime and the evidence. If the police found the child’s version to be correct, then why were they protecting Asaram?
On August 27, the Jodhpur police apparently had to wait eight hours outside the Indore ashram of the accused, even while it was announced that Asaram was ‘meditating’. Even in this ashram, the police was reportedly ‘escorted’ by BJP leaders.