A man whose daughter had been raped by Asaram Bapu demanded Tuesday a probe into an event at the district jail here, "glorifying" the godman. Asaram was convicted in April 2018 of raping a Shahjahanpur girl at his ashram at Manai village near Jodhpur in 2013. He was arrested by the Jodhpur police on August 31, 2013 and has been in jail since then.
At the event in the jail, Asaram’s followers came from Lucknow and distributed blankets, held a prayer meeting by putting up his picture and distributed ‘prasad’, the victim''s father told PTI over phone. "In the ''Satsang'' (prayer meeting), the criminal was glorified. Followers of Asaram are doing this to refurbish the image of a rape convict. A probe should be done in the matter," he said.
The blankets were distributed on behalf of Asaram followers Arjun and Narain Pandey, who had been earlier arrested and lodged in Shahjahanpur jail for some time on charges of killing a witness in the case involving the rape of the local girl. Shahjahanpur Jail superintendent Rakesh Kumar said when the two accused were lodged in the jail here, Pandey fell sick and recovered from his ailment following his treatment in the jail hospital.
Confirming the distribution of blankets in the jail, Kumar said a total of 75 blankets, sent by Pandey, were distributed in the jail. Kumar, however, refuted the allegations that Asaram was glorified. "When Pandey was released on bail, he had pledged to distribute blankets to prisoners. They had sent blankets which were distributed in the jail. The allegation of glorification and ‘satsang’ (prayer meeting) inside the jail is baseless," he said.
Shahjahanpur ADM (Administration) Ramsevak Dwivedi said he was not aware of the matter. "If something like this has happened, it will be probed," he added. Earlier, a press note and photographs of the program signed by the jail superintendent was sent on a WhatsApp group of local reporters on Monday with the message going viral on social media. Though the WhatsApp message was deleted later, it was saved by many reporters.
The Shahjahanpur girl had accused Asaram of raping her in his Jodhpur ashram and had lodged a case in this regard in Delhi''s Kamla Market police station which was later transferred to Jodhpur. Asaram was arrested by the Jodhpur police on August 31, 2013 and has been in jail since then. Following his conviction, he was sentenced to life imprisonment.