Asaram Bapu verdict: Jodhpur turns into fortress ahead of court order; Section 144 imposed, additional forces deployed

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New Delhi | Published: April 24, 2018 4:45:36 PM

Asaram Bapu verdict: With a special SC/ST court in Jodhpur set to pronounce its verdict in a 2012 rape case against self-styled godman Asaram on Wednesday, the Centre has asked Rajasthan, Gujarat and Haryana to tighten security and deploy additional forces.

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Asaram Bapu verdict: With a special SC/ST court in Jodhpur set to pronounce its verdict in a 2012 rape case against self-styled godman Asaram on Wednesday, the Centre has asked Rajasthan, Gujarat and Haryana to tighten security and deploy additional forces. According to the directions of the Rajasthan High Court, the verdict will be delivered in Jodhpur Central Jail premises. The police have imposed prohibitory orders fearing a threat to law and order from Asaram’s followers. “We have made all arrangements for the judgement day. Magistrate along with court staff, Asaram and co-accused along with the defence and prosecution counsels will remain present in the courtroom in jail premises”, DIG, Jail, Vikram Singh said.

Here is a look at security arrangements made ahead of Asaram Bapu verdict:

– As a precautionary measure, security has been stepped up and prohibitory orders have been issued in the city. The police have already imposed section 144 in Jodhpur till April 30, banning the assembly of more than four people at a place.

– They are also keeping a close vigil at bus and railway stations along with hotels in the city. The entry points leading to the city have been sealed and the authorities have also evacuated Asaram’s ashram located on the outskirts of the city.

– Section 144 will continue to be imposed in the city till April 30. “We have imposed section 144 of CrPC in the city from April 21 and would remain effective till April 30. Besides this, we have been keeping a sharp eye on ashrams of Asaram in the city and checking all hotels and guest houses as well as the bus and railway station,” DCP (East) Aman Deep Singh said.

– Rajasthan, Gujarat and Haryana have been asked by the Home Ministry to beef up security and ensure that no violence takes place after the verdict.

– The three states were also told to deploy additional forces in sensitive places, the Home Ministry official said. “We will also seal the jail on the day of judgment and would not allow anyone to get close to jail premises,” Singh said.

– The Shahjahanpur district administration in Uttar Pradesh has also stepped up security around the house of the victim. “The security of the victim’s family is continuously being monitored…Two more constables will stand guard outside her house in addition to the five policemen already deployed there and a strict vigil is being maintained on all the visitors using CCTV cameras,” Superintendent of Police KB Singh said.

Asaram Bapu was arrested on the complaint filed by a teenage girl from Shahajahanpur of Uttar Pradesh. The girl was studying at godman’s ashram at Chhindwara in Madhya Pradesh and had alleged that Asaram had called her to his ashram in Manai area near Jodhpur and raped her on the night of August 15, 2013.

He was arrested from Indore and brought to Jodhpur on 1 September 2013 and has been under judicial custody since the following day.

Police had filed a charge sheet November 6, 2013 under various sections of the POSCO Act, Juvenile Justice Act and IPC against Asaram and 4 other co-accused namely Shiva, Shilpi, Sharad and Prakash. The case had begun in the district and session court on March 19, 2017 and was shifted to a special court for SC/ST Cases.

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