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Self-styled godman Asaram Bapu was today held guilty of raping a teen follower in 2013. He has been sentenced to life in prison. His two accomplices have been given 20-year jail term. The victim's lawyer had earlier opined that he expected a life term for the accused. The Times of India reported that the police had taken unprecedented security measures to prevent any violence by the supporters of the Godman. In a similar case in Haryana, when godman Ram Rahim was convicted of rape, riots had erupted, and 23 were killed.

Sentenced

The sentence was read out to the 77-year-old self-styled godman inside the jail. The police had also enforced section 44 of the IPC at Jodhpur railway station and other places to prevent assembly of more than five persons.

Baba Asaram is also facing another rape charge in Ahmedabad where he has been accused of raping two teenage girls in 2003.

Asaram

People like Asaram are the bane of India, and tens of their ilk proliferate the subcontinent. Asaram was a mere rickshaw puller till he got the idea of becoming a godman. He played on the susceptibilities of Hindus and built up a tremendous following. His website claims 40 million followers. The baba has ashrams spread all over India and the world. He has a significant following among the Indian diaspora in the UK and USA.

The baba who was a penniless man in the sixties has now wealth running into crores of rupees. His case is similar to another godman Ram Rahim who was similarly convicted of rape and is serving a 10-year jail term in Haryana. At that time it was alleged that the Haryana chief minister Jagdish Khattar was one of his followers and had not made any security arrangements when crowds of his followers began to assemble around the court.

This was a blunder as once the verdict was announced the crowd went berserk and in resultant violence over 23 were killed.

Patronage

This time the police had made elaborate security arrangements to thwart any violence. Asaram has a vast following, and even the prime minister Narendra Modi is alleged to have attended his lectures and discourses. Many other political leaders had sought his blessings. A video of the BJP ex-prime minister Atal Vajpayee has also surfaced that shows him dancing with Asaram.

Asaram is one among hundreds of such self-styled godmen who are present in the subcontinent. Even in Pakistan, a Muslim Sufi pir was arrested for impregnating over 300 women in a false claim that he could make a lady have a son.

Last word

The bubble of styled godmen is pricked as now the public is realizing that such men are only interested in sexual favors on false claims of salvation. But the fact remains that Hindu Tantra philosophy does outline sex as a path to salvation.