Asaram convicted; key witness expresses life threat fear

National

Panipat: As the special court convicted self-proclaimed ‘godman’ Asaram Bapu for raping a minor in his ashram in 2013, his former aide and key witness Mahendra Chawla said that his life is constantly under threat. He also requested for additional security and demanded death penalty for rapists.

“Though I have security, I request Centre for additional security, my life like other witnesses is constantly under threat,” Chawla said. “Trust judiciary and am confident that Asaram will be convicted. I request judiciary that such rapists should be hanged,” he further added.

Nearly five years after rape charges were levelled against the self-styled godman, the Jodhpur Schedule Caste and Schedule Tribe Court pronounced its judgement on Wednesday and convicted 77-year-old Asaram for raping a teenager in his Jodhpur ashram.

The victim had said in her complaint that Asaram called her to his ashram in Manai area near Jodhpur and raped her on the night of August 15, 2013.

However, Asaram’s followers were seen offering prayers at the godman’s ashram in Madhya Pradesh’s Bhopal, Uttar Pradesh’s Varanasi, Gujarat’s Ahmedabad and Punjab’s Ludhiana for his acquittal ahead of the verdict today.

Earlier in the day, a follower of Asaram who had reached Jodhpur Central Jail with a garland was detained by police. Security has also been beefed up at Jodhpur jail ahead of the verdict.

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