ucanews.com reporters, Bhopal and Ahmedabad
Updated: August 25, 2013 11:11 PM GMT
Asaram Bapu (file picture: Sam Panthaky/AFP)
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 ucanews.com 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.
….as we enter the last months of 2021, we are asking readers like you to help us keep UCA News free.
For the last 40 years, UCA News has remained the most trusted and independent Catholic news and information service from Asia. Every week, we publish nearly 100 news reports, feature stories, commentaries, podcasts and video broadcasts that are exclusive and in-depth, and developed from a view of the world and the Church through informed Catholic eyes.
Our journalistic standards are as high as any in the quality press; our focus is particularly on a fast-growing part of the world - Asia - where, in some countries the Church is growing faster than pastoral resources can respond to – South Korea, Vietnam and India to name just three.
And UCA News has the advantage of having in its ranks local reporters who cover 23 countries in south, southeast, and east Asia. We report the stories of local people and their experiences in a way that Western news outlets simply don’t have the resources to reach. And we report on the emerging life of new Churches in old lands where being a Catholic can at times be very dangerous.
With dwindling support from funding partners in Europe and the USA, we need to call on the support of those who benefit from our work.