On Wednesday, the trial court in Jodhpur gave life sentence to Asaram and 20 years imprisonment each to two of his associates in the rape case of a minor girl from Uttar Pradesh's Shahjahanpur. Asaram has been convicted presently only in one case. There is another rape case pending against him in Gujarat's Surat.
Like a professional criminal, Asaram tried all illegal methods to get a clean chit. Witnesses were threatened and intimidated, there were attacks on some witnesses, and three of the witnesses died. It was because of these threats and intimidation that the courts, from lower to High Court and Supreme Court, dismissed his bail petitions twelve times. Asaram got a fake medical report made in order to get bail, but the fraud was soon exposed. On the Supreme Court's order he was admitted to AIIMS, Delhi, where he tried to bribe doctors to get a report in order to facilitate bail, but the doctors reported this to the apex court, and another case was filed against the fake godman.
The thing to ponder over is: how such a man could become a self-proclaimed godman, and how millions of followers revered him as a saint. Asaram was actually running his business in the guise of religion, lands were forcibly acquired in several cities and ashrams were built on these lands. He declared himself as a god having "Brahma Gyan". But the end was that of a demon like Ravan. The demon king of Lanka had disguised himself as a sadhu in order to kidnap Sita, and in the end he died in the battle against Lord Ram and his 'golden' kingdom of Lanka was reduced to ashes.
Asaram is not the lone charlatan disguised as a godman. There are many such charlatans in our society masquerading as godmen. So long as millions of devouts superstitiously believe in such godmen, no law, even the one providing for death penalty, will suffice. People may worship godmen, but they should not do so out of superstition, otherwise such wolves in sheep's clothing will continue to roam around.
I want to make one point clear. Not all sadhus or saints in our society are like Asaram. Asaram's criminal acts have defamed the Sant Samaj. There are many sadhus and saints, who selflessly work for the good of the society, and are actually rendering yeoman's service. They are showing the correct path to society. They play a stellar role in reducing crimes in society. But today's court verdict against Asaram has surely hurt them. There is the adage: one bad fish spoils the whole pond.
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