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Giving Life-Long Jail to Asaram, Court Says You Shattered People’s Faith in Sages

The judge noted that Asaram "raped the girl ignoring her sobs and appeals to him that he was committing the sin despite her faith in him as a god."

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Updated:April 25, 2018, 11:08 PM IST
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Giving Life-Long Jail to Asaram, Court Says You Shattered People’s Faith in Sages
The court ruled that Asaram will remain in prison till his natural death. (Image: AFP)
Jodhpur: A special POCSO court that sentenced self-styled godman Asaram to life-long jail term on Wednesday for raping a minor girl near Jodhpur five years ago rued that despite being "called a saint", he had committed the heinous offence, shattering the faith of people in sages.

Special judge Madhusudan Sharma further lamented, in his 453-page judgment, that by his heinous act, the godman has not merely shattered the faith of his devotees in him but has also harmed the reputation of saints among common people. The 77-year-old will remain in prison till his natural death, the court said, finding him guilty of raping the girl five years ago.

“Accused Asaram is called a saint. He has lakhs of devotees not merely in India but abroad too. He has over 400 ashrams running after his name,” said the judge, adding that as per his modest opinion, “the accused, by committing the despicable and heinous crime, has not merely shattered the faith of his devotees in him but has also harmed the reputation of saints among the common people”.

Referring to the faith of the victim's father and her family in Asaram, Additional Sessions Judge Sharma noted that the father was a "disciple of Asaram and played a crucial role in building an ashram at his home town Shahjahanpur in Uttar Pradesh”.

He (the victim's farther) had so much respect for Asaram that he had sent both his son and daughter for studies at Asaram's gurukul' at Chhindwara in Madhya Pradesh, noted ASJ Sharma in his judgment.

Yet, the accused raped the victim after calling her to his ashram on the pretext of holding a jap' (an elaborate worship with recital of holy mantras) to cure her of the influence of evil spirits, the judge noted.

Elsewhere, in his judgement convicting the godman and his two other accomplices, the judge noted that Asaram "raped the girl ignoring her sobs and appeals to him that he was committing the sin despite her faith in him as a god”.

While discarding appeals of leniency by Asaram's counsel and awarding the godman maximum possible sentence, that of life-long jail term under the latest amended definition of the offence of rape and the punishments for the same, the judge said, “Any unnecessary sympathy for the convict would harm the criminal justice administration system as it would weaken the faith of common people in it”.

“If the judiciary fails to protect the victim, he/she himself/herself will proceed on the path of retribution, harming the criminal justice system. Accordingly, it's the duty of the courts to punish the offender as per the gravity of the crime,” the judge said.

The court convicted the godman on six counts of offences, including trafficking of a minor, rape by one or more persons of a group (376D), rape by a person being a relative, guardian or teacher or someone commanding the victim's trust.

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