Jodhpur: The Jodhpur Schedule Caste and Schedule Tribe Court will pronounce its verdict in a rape case against Asaram Bapu, a self-styled "godman", on Wednesday. Earlier, the court has given the guidelines to the public to maintain the law and order during the hearing on Asaram rape case. Apprehending trouble from thousands of followers of Asaram in case of an adverse judgment, a division bench of the Rajasthan High Court on Tuesday considered Jodhpur Police Commissioner's appeal and ordered the trial court to deliver the verdict inside the jail premises.
Apart from Jodhpur, security has also been beefed up in neighboring areas of Gujarat, and Haryana. Security was also stepped up around the victim's house in Shahajahanpur.
The Union Ministry yesterday directed the three state governments to tighten security and deploy additional forces, in view of the fact that large-scale violence was witnessed in Haryana, Punjab and Chandigarh after a special court in Mohali convicted self-styled godman Ram Rahim of rape charges. He is in jail since then. Six companies of the armed battalions of Rajasthan Police have been deployed around the Jodhpur Central Jail. Asaram had several high profile followers with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Rajasthan chief minister, Vasundhara Raje Scindia and other top BJP leaders frequently paying visits to his ashram in the past. Only the accused persons, including Asaram, and lawyers from both sides along with the judge and staff will be present inside the court room.
A teenage girl had accused Asaram of sexual assault at his ashram in Manai village near Jodhpur. The self-styled godman was charged with rape allegations and was arrested on 31 August, 2013.
On August 23, supporters of Asaram Bapu attacked Kamla Market police station in Delhi. He is under judicial custody since September 2, 2013. Although the followers were not allowed to come close to the court, the main mistake of the authorities was to allow them to enter Panchkula and camp in the city when section 144 was in place.
Early 2014: Trial begins in the Jodhpur rape case.
In the Asaram rape case, the trial court heard final arguments on April 7 and reserved the verdict April 25.
March 2014: Two unidentified men throw acid on an aide of one of the witnesses in the Surat case.
12 July 2015: Kripal Singh, a third witness, shot dead at in Shahjahanpur. Five days later, victim's father demanded death for Asaram Bapu, while godman's son describes the minor as mentally unstable. The incident took place in August 2013.
A chargesheet against Asaram and four other accused was filed in November 2013, under various sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, Juvenile Justice Act and the Indian Penal Code (IPC).