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'3 Witnesses Killed, 3 Missing': Rape Survivor's Family Battles 'Pressure' To Withdraw Asaram Case

Asaram Bapu has been in jail for 4 years after a 16-year-old girl accused him of sexually assaulting her

New Delhi:  A day after Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim was sentenced to 20 years in jail, another self-styled godman’s rape case is under the Supreme Court’s scanner. In the last four months, the Supreme Court has asked the Gujarat government twice to expedite a rape trial involving Asaram Bapu.

While the prosecution and the defence blame each other over the delay in trial, NDTV travelled to a remote village in Uttar Pradesh to speak with the rape survivor’s family.

“I want nothing but death sentence for that devil (Asaram). People who play with our daughters’ life and uproot our faith in humankind, deserve to be hanged,” the rape survivor’s father told NDTV.

On the Ram Rahim verdict, he said, “20 years is less, people like that should be hanged to death.”

Asaram Bapu has been in jail since August 2013, after a 16-year-old girl accused him of sexually assaulting her at his ashram in Manai village near Jodhpur. The girl from Uttar Pradesh was a student living in the ashram.

“Asaram is deliberately delaying the case, ‘tareeq pe tareeq’ at times on basis of his health, at times by not bringing witnesses for statements. His lawyers are simply dragging the case to get bail,” the father said. 

“If the delay continues, the case will get weak, poor people like us will get bogged down under financial expenses and mental torture. And this is what powerful people with money want to break us, intimidate us, until we withdraw our complaint,” he added.

Ever since the recording of statements began, three witnesses have been murdered, three have gone missing and one was stabbed inside the court premises. Yet, no case under Section 302 (murder) has been registered against Asaram. 

The family after repeated pleas has been provides security, but they continue to get intimidating calls. 

“Just four days back I got a call from my relative forcing us to withdraw. Asaram people have started reaching out to everyone we know to make us withdraw,” said the father. 

Earlier, the Supreme Court had refused to grant bail to Asaram on various grounds including his poor health in two separate sexual assault cases lodged in Rajasthan and Gujarat. The top court, while dismissing his bail plea on January 30, had observed that Asaram had placed a “fictitious document” to persuade the court to grant him bail and had ordered registration of an FIR against those responsible for preparing and filing the alleged fake papers.