Jodhpur Court convicted Asaram Bapu of a five-year-old rape case today. A court was set up inside Central Jail in Jodhpur where the entry of media persons was not allowed.
Here are 7 facts about the ‘godman’ who was mentioned in the list of ‘fake sadhus’ by Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad (the apex group for Hindu sadhus):
1. His real name is Asumal Thaumal Harpalani:
His guru, Lilshah ji Maharaj gave him the name of ‘Asaram Bapu’ or ‘Bapuji’ after he began preaching in the early 1970s.
2. Post partition, his family moved to India:
Asaram was born in Berani village of Nawabshah district which is currently in Pakistan. After partition, his family left all their immovable assets in Sindh and moved to Ahmedabad.
3. He had run away from home at 15 when he was to be married:
He was to be married to a woman named Laxmi Devi when he was 15-years-old. He had run away to an ashram in Bharuch then. Asaram’s father had died when he was in 3rd grade. However, the marriage took place later. He has two children, Narayan Sai and Bharti Devi.
4. He once sold liquor:
Asaram did a lot of odd jobs, like selling liquor, tea, repairing cycles and being involved in his father’s coal and wood business, according to a report dated 29 August 2013 in Hindustan Times.
5. He has over 400 ashrams across the globe:
Asaram began with a small ashram in Motera in 1973. He had only 5-10 followers then. but by 2013, his popularity had grown massively.
6. He has been embroiled in various controversies:
Apart from allegations of rape, allegations and legal challenges of land encroachment, of practising black magic that caused the death of four boys in his gurukuls have also been levelled against him. A public agitation happened when the bodies of the boys were found mutilated near the ashram. Later, a CID probe dismissed the theory that black magic was practised.
7. There is one more rape case in court against him:
Apart from the rape for which he is convicted today, Asaram, his son Narayan Sai and his wife and daughter have been named by two sisters for sexually assaulting them at the Surat ashram. The prime witness in the Surat rape case, Akhil Gupta was shot and killed on 11th January, 2015.There have been numerous attacks against the witnesses who were part of the various cases against him.
The 77-year-old ‘godman’ had made insensitive comments about the Delhi gang rape in 2012, shifting the blame on the victim. His comments had created a lot of controversy and attracted a lot of public outrage. He had said, “The victim is as guilty as the rapists…she should have called the culprits brothers and begged before them to stop…this could have saved her dignity and life. Can one hand clap? I don’t think so.”
Preview Photo: hindustantimes.com