JODHPUR: 74-year-old self-styled godman Asaram Bapu was quizzed about an attack on an important witness in the sexual assault case against him. Responding immediately to it, the spiritual leader said, “Duniya mein sabhi hamle main hi karwata hoon (I am responsible for all the attacks that are happening)”.
Asaram made the statement to the media while he was being taken for the hearing in a Jodhpur Court on Wednesday.
Asaram is in Jodhpur jail since August 2013 over allegations of raping a 16-year-old minor at his ashram. Later, his son was Narayan Sai was also booked for the alleged rape of two sisters at their ashram in Surat, Gujarat.
A key witness, Mahendra Chawla who served Asaram for four years as a Personal Assistant was attacked by some unidentified gunmen at Sanauli Village in Panipat on Wednesday. Critically injured Chawla suffering the bullet wounds on his shoulder was rushed to the hospital following the attack.
Chawla who is the fifth witness to be attacked in the case had earlier exposed Asaram before the court on his character and illegal activities in his ashram on March 3.
Akhil Gupta, the cook and aide of Asaram was killed in January this year while he was on his way home from work in Uttar Pradesh.
Asaram’s physician Amrut Prajapati was shot dead in Gujarat last year.
Apart from these, three others have survived attacks on them for speaking up against the spiritual guru who is currently behind the bars.
Let’s scroll through the controversial journey of the self-proclaimed guru who has managed to earn countless followers.
The Real Face
Words such as ‘spiritual’ described 20 times in his expression – ‘spiritual flower, spiritual fragrance, spiritual solace’ etc is what displays the life sketch on Asaram Bapu’s website.
Born as Asumal Sirumalani, the god-man is a Hindu spiritual leader from India preaching the existence of supreme conscious and claims bhakti yoga, gnana yoga and karma yoga as influential forces! Even though the man carries a big bag of controversies with him, the sexual-assault charges against him brought the self-proclaimed god in the biggest limelight.
His spiritual domain is spread across 300 ashrams throughout India, as also in the US, with crores of his followers and admirers flooding his community with funds. Bapu has even delivered a speech at the parliament of world religions.
The Controversial Baba
Asaram Bapu’s journey ever since 1971 as a saint has had all along been sprinkled with scandals. Sindh-born Asaram, who migrated to Ahmedabad with his parents during partition, is facing about dozen-odd cases at different places.
There have been several controversies connected with his ashram which has strongly attracted the media attention in a similar way when the death of four children at his two ashrams in Ahmedabad and Chhindwara was reported. As the investigations got tougher and serious with time, it was reported that the ‘godly baba’ even verbally attacked the then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as he threatened to throw his government out of Gujarat if a probe into the deaths of two children in his ashram was not ended. A CID (Crime) charge sheet was filed against Asaram in connection with the strange death of two kids studying in
Navsari District - Case of Land Encroachment
The Asaram ashram was allocated almost 10 acres of land in Bhairavi village of Navsari district by the Gujarat government in 2000. The additional 6 acres encroachment by the ashram led to serious protest by the local villagers. After a formal complaint and repeated notices which were ignored, the district authorities with police assistance bulldozed the encroachments and took possession of the land.
Madhya Pradesh - Case of Land Encroachment
For an 11-day satsang in 2001, the Yog Vedanta Samiti of Asaram was supposedly given permission to use the premises of the Mangalya temple in Ratlam area of Madhya Pradesh. The samiti then failed to evacuate the premises post the satsang session and continued to occupy a total of 100 acres of land worth over Rs.700 crores belonging to the now defunct Jayant Vitamins Limited.
Asaram Bapu denied any sort of involvement in the case claiming the reports to be baseless and untenable.
Statement on 2012 Delhi Gang Rape Victim
The ‘so-called’ saint was massively criticized by one and all after his harsh remarks about the December 16, 2012 Delhi gang rape victim.
In his comments, he stated that the victim was equally guilty along with those responsible for the sexual assault on her. He precisely commented, “Only 5-6 people are not the culprits. The victim is as guilty as her 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.”
Asaram was also against the harsher punishments for the accused in the case as he believed that the law could be misused. To support his point, he is reported to have said, “Dowry in India is the biggest example of law being misused.”
Watch this out for debatable videos of the Asaram Bapu: