As the Jodhpur court pronounced its verdict in the Asaram Bapu rape case, a certain section of people started sharing old images of the self-styled godman with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The idea, obviously was to attack him for his alleged association with the godman-turned-rapist. As the pictures began to spread and the attacks against the PM grew vicious, actor-director-singer Farhan Akhtar, who has spoken out on crucial issues on several occasions, came to the defence of the PM.
Akhtar took to Twitter and asked people to stop sharing those images on social media after the self-styled godman was convicted in a 2013 rape case. The actor said that PM Modi should be given the benefit of doubt as he may have been unaware of Asaram’s wrongdoings just like so many other people. “So, Asaram is a child rapist. And he has been found guilty. Good. But can people please stop sharing images of him with PM Modi. Patronising him before he was exposed to be a pervert is no crime. Let’s be fair and give him the benefit of doubt that he, like us, did not know,” Akhtar said in his tweet.
Akhtar’s tweet came after Congress also shared a video of PM Modi with Asaram Bapu on its Twitter handle. “A man is known by the company he keeps” – Aesop’s fables #AsaramVerdict,” the tweet was captioned by the grand old party.
So, Asaram is a child rapist. And he has been found guilty. Good.
But can people please stop sharing images of him with PM Modi. Patronising him before he was exposed to be a pervert is no crime.
Let’s be fair and give him the benefit of doubt that he, like us, did not know.
— Farhan Akhtar (@FarOutAkhtar) April 25, 2018
Man! Wish people could be as logical as you’re being here. The extent to which some clowns can go to make a political point is beyond bizarre!
— Akshaye Rathi (@akshayerathi) April 25, 2018
“A man is known by the company he keeps” – Aesop’s fables #AsaramVerdict pic.twitter.com/CTOQ8HKJ1O
— Congress (@INCIndia) April 25, 2018
Film exhibitor Akshaye Rathi replied to Farhan’s tweet and said that he hopes more people are as sensible as the actor. “Man! Wish people could be as logical as you’re being here. The extent to which some clowns can go to make a political point is beyond bizarre!” Rathi said in his tweet.
The verdict was welcomed by most political leaders as well. Former Rajasthan chief minister and Congress leader Ashok Gehlot said that people should start differentiating between the actual saints and the frauds. “The time has come when people should be able to differentiate between the actual saints and the frauds, as this creates a bad image of the country in the international arena,” Gehlot said.
“I welcome the judgement. In this case the witnesses were attacked, one was killed. The victim and her father were threatened, they were forced to leave their home. They were displaced. But today their fight for justice has been vindicated. What is worse is that this godman used the ‘bhakti’ of these followers to abuse their believes,” said CPI (M) Politburo member Brinda Karat.
Asaram Bapu was charged with sexual assault, raping and illegally confining a minor, according to the 1,300-page charge sheet filed by Rajasthan Police.
The 77-year-old self-styled Godman was booked under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and the police had filed an FIR under Sections 342, 376, 354 A, 506, 509/34 of the IPC, Sections 23, 26 of the Juvenile Justice Act and Section 8 of the POCSO Act.