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The South Asian Insider

Asaram Bapu: Indian spiritual guru, 81, jailed for life in second rape case

An Indian spiritual guru with millions of followers was today jailed for life after he was convicted of raping one of his devotees who he kept prisoner for five years.
Asaram Bapu, 81, was yesterday found guilty of sexually abusing the woman several times between 2001 and 2006 at his monastery in the western Indian state of Gujarat.
Today, a court in Gandhinager sentenced Asaram to life in prison and ordered the self-styled guru to pay a fine of 23,000 rupees (£228) and also 50,000 rupees (£496) as compensation to the victim.Asaram is already serving a life sentence after he was convicted of raping another devotee, who was 16 at the time, at his ashram in Rajasthan in 2018. The guru raped the 16-year-old while her parents waited outside his room chanting prayers as he 'cured' her. He threatened to kill the girl's parents if she told anyone.
In the latest case, a woman told police in 2013 that Asaram raped her several times at his ashram in the city of Motera where he kept her prisoner for five years before she managed to escape.
Today, Asaram, who has millions of followers and more than 400 ashrams in India, was convicted of the woman's rape and wrongful detention.
In 2019, Asaram's son Narayan Sai was sentenced to life in prison for raping and illegally confining the same woman's younger sister.
The woman came forward in 2013 to report the rape to police after Asaram was arrested in a separate case of sexual assault.In that separate case, two of Asaram's followers accused him of raping their 16-year-old daughter.
They said the guru had forced the daughter to perform sex acts on him in his ashram in the city of Jodhpur, Rajasthan, and threatened to kill her family if she told them of the abuse. Asaram was sentenced to life in prison in 2018 for raping the teenager in 2013. He has been at the centre of a series of controversies over the years. In 2013, he sparked outrage after he said that Jyoti Singh, who was gang-raped by six men on a bus in New Delhi in 2012 before dying of her injuries, was partly responsible for her own attack. Asaram said the 23-year-old medical student, whose gang-rape sent shockwaves through India, was as 'guilty as her rapists'.