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Hindu sage called to answer assault charges

Well known leader accused of raping 16-year-old

Hindu sage called to answer assault charges

Asaram Bapu (file picture: Sam Panthaky/AFP) reporters, Bhopal and Ahmedabad

August 26, 2013

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A Hindu spiritual leader has been summoned today to appear for police questioning.

Asaram Bapu, who has a sizable number of followers across the country, is accused of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl at his hermitage in Jodhpur, Rajasthan state, on August 15.

In her complaint, the girl said she fell ill on August 14 and was taken to the hermitage. The girl's parents, who are Asaram followers, were told that the guru would heal her through a ritual. But the girl was allegedly raped by him.

The girl has given a detailed description of the room in which she claims she was assaulted, which may prove to be key evidence.

While his exact whereabouts are unknown, Asaram is believed to be at his hermitage in Indore.           

The 72-year-old said that baseless allegations were leveled against him because “I preach Indian culture during my discourses. In the last four and a half years, I have been accused of practicing black magic but nothing has stood legal scrutiny.”

Sunil Wankhade, a spokesperson for Asaram, repeated to that the allegation is a conspiracy against him.

“He will certainly get a clean sheet as the allegations leveled against him are baseless and motivated,” he said.

Asaram was earlier engulfed in controversy over his remark that the victim - who was gang raped in New Delhi in December and subsequently died - was as guilty as those who assaulted her.

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