A Jodhpur court on Tuesday dismissed a petition seeking entry of media persons in Central Jail for the coverage
The Hush Post: Jodhpur seems to have turned into a tightly and heavily guarded fortress as a trial court in Jodhpur is set to pronounce its verdict in the rape case involving self-styled godman Asaram on Wednesday. Asaram faces charges of sexually exploiting a 16-year old girl from UP’s Shahjahanpur in his Manai ashram near Jodhpur in 2013.
A special courtroom has been set up inside the Jodhpur Central Jail for pronouncement of the verdict, after the city police had requested the Rajasthan HC to direct the trial court to pronounce its judgment from inside the jail. Asaram, four co-accused and the defence and prosecution lawyers will remain present in the courtroom.
Final arguments in the case had been completed by the special court for SC/ST cases on April 7 and the court had kept the order reserved to be pronounced on April 25. A Jodhpur court on Tuesday dismissed a petition seeking entry of media persons in Central Jail for the coverage.
In view of the violence during the verdict in Gurmit Ram Rahim’s case in Panchkula, Haryana, extra measures have been taken to stop followers of Asaram from creating any trouble. All hotels and guest-houses in Jodhpur have been directed not to allow any of his followers. Strict vigil at bus stands, railway stations and airports has been ensured to prevent his followers from entering Jodhpur. All entries to the city have been sealed and control rooms have been activated in neighbouring districts and states.
A 10-day prohibitory order from April 21-30 has also been issued. The Centre has directed Rajasthan, Gujarat, Haryana and UP to tighten security and deploy additional forces. The Shahjahanpur district administration has stepped up security around the rape survivor’s house.
Before reinventing himself as a spiritual guru, Asaram was known by the name of Asumal Sindhi as a ‘tongawala’ carrying pilgrims from the railway station to Dargah Sharif in Ajmer. Asumal arrived in India from Pakistan’s Sindh when he was seven-years-old. Initially, his family lived in Gujarat before Asumal moved to Ajmer in 1963 on an invitation from a relative.