Moments after Jodhpur court sentenced Asaram to life in jail until death, his supporters have launched ‘oust BJP’ campaign alleging conspiracy by the saffron party.
Claiming that the Wednesday’s judgement was allegedly engineered by the BJP, the 77-year-old rapist baba’s supporters have vowed to teach the BJP a lesson in the coming elections. According to some estimate, Asaram has nearly 40 million (4 crore) followers spread across several BJP-ruled states including Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.
According to a report by NDTV, a press note by Asaram’s followers titled “Bapuji’s crores of followers will shunt out the BJP in the coming elections,” accused the BJP-led government of judicial intervention. The press statement also gave example of how the Supreme Court had dismissed the petitions seeking an independent inquiry into the mysterious death of Judge BH Loya, who was hearing the fake encounter case of Sohrabuddin Shaikh at the time of his death in Nagpur in November 2014.
The press statement by Asaram’s followers said, “In the Asaram Bapu verdict, we cannot rule out that BJP may have tried to influence the judiciary. There might be a political interest involved here in view of the upcoming elections. The party may be trying to save its skin and take credit.”
This assumes significance in light of the upcoming assembly elections in Rajasthan, where Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje Scindia will be seeking a second-term. Scindia was one of the high-profile BJP leaders, who had visited Asaram’s ashram and paid rich tributes to the latter’s godliness in the past.
The press statement by Asaram’s supporters, as reported by NDTV, also alleged that “the BJP’s interference in judicial matters is clearly visible.” This was in reference to the impeachment motion initiated by the opposition against the Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.
Curiously, Asaram had once famously claimed that he found Lord Shiva in Narendra Modi. On another occasion, he had also expressed satisfaction on Modi becoming the prime minister. (Watch the special video below)
A court in Jodhpur on Wednesday had sentenced Asaram to life in jail, while also awarding 20-year jail terms to other two convicts, both his aides.
Asaram broke down in courtroom after hearing his sentence. Two other convicts namely Shilpi alias Sanchita Gupta and Sharatchandra were handed out 20 years each in jail.
This was just hours after the court had found them guilty of raping a teenager from Uttar Pradesh at Asaram’s ashram. Sharatchandra was the director of Chhindwara residential school where the 16-year-old girl was studying in Class 12, and Shilpi worked there as the warden of her hostel.
Asaram’s spokesperson Neelam Dubey had told the media that they will appeal the verdict in the Rajasthan High Court.
Ajay Lamba, the investigating offier who probed the Asaram Bapu rape case, said that the truth had finally prevailed.
His son Narayan Sai is also accused of raping a woman disciple of his father between 2002 and 2005 at their ashram in Surat. 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.
He was arrested on the complaint filed by a teenage girl from Shahajahanpur in Uttar Pradesh, who was studying at his ashram at Chhindwara in Madhya Pradesh. The victim had alleged that Asaram called her to his ashram in Manai area near Jodhpur and raped her on the night of 15 August, 2013. Asaram was arrested from Indore and brought to Jodhpur on 1 September 2013.
A chargesheet against Asaram and 4 other co-accused namely Shiva, Shilpi, Sharad and Prakash had been filed by the police on November 6, 2013, under various sections of the POSCO Act, Juvenile Justice Act and IPC.