Thursday, November 7, 2013
Indian Popular Spiritual Leader (Guru) Charged With Raping a 16-Year-Old Girl At A Religious Retreat
Indian police on wednesday charged a popular spitual leader with raping a 16-year-old school girl at a religious retrerar, lawyers said. Asaram Bapu, one of many self-styled Hindu "godmen", who attract vast number of followers was booked for several offences, including rape, trafficking, sexual crimes against minors. Bapu father), 72, who in preachings urges his followers to live a 'pious life' free of sexual desires, was arrested in madhya Predesh and flown to Jodhpur in western India, where alleged assault took place. The police chargesheet is 1,000 pages long and includes statements from 58 witnesses, prosecution lawyer said. The white-bearded guru, who once condemned 'Valentine's Day' as encouraging young people to engage in 'dirty acts', has dismissed the claims as being political conspiracy against him. The alleged attack took place on August 15 as Bapu was holding a retreat for his followers, including the alleged victim and her parents. He told the parents he needed to meet their daughter alone after being informed of concerns she was possessed by evil spirits, police have said. once, alone in his room, the guru allegedly assaulted the girl, who told her parents two days later. The family then travelled to New Delhi to confront him, but he refused to meet them and prompted them to go to police. The guru triggered public outrage in January he claimed that 23-year-old Indian student could have avoided being fatally gang-raped on a New Delhi bus by begging for mercy from her attackers and calling them 'brothers'. Bapu has some 350 ashrams or religious retreats in he country and overseas, wher he teaches yoga and mediation and offers lessons on leading a spiritual and peaceful existence, according to his website.