A special court in Jodhpur has awarded life imprisonment to self-styled godman Asaram Bapu who made rape, murder and amassing illegal wealth a way of life under the guise of fake spirituality.
This sentence can only be seen as a lenient punishment that could be awarded for such crimes. This is because the shocking underworld that has been built by these godmen under the cover of wrongful political influence posing a threat to the society as a whole shatters all the spiritual heritage of the country. Just as the court pointed out, Asaram has spoilt the reputation of saints among the people. Asaram has been punished for raping a teen who had joined the school run by the godman’s ashram at Chhinddwara in Madhya Pradesh for her studies. He sexually exploited the 16-year old by taking advantage of the relation with her parents who were his devotees. Asaram who has been spending the last five years in the Jodhpur central jail had tried every trick in the book to escape from the legal tangles. It was the judiciary which took a firm stance, that led to Asaram being sentenced to life imprisonment. One would understand how big a criminal he is by analyzing the futile attempts he had made to escape from the hands of law. The life of the IPS officer who was in charge of the investigation was made miserable by threats and lures. Three key witnesses who gave statements against Asaram were shot dead. About a dozen people were attacked in several instances. A CBI probe is in progressin cases in which the witnesses were killed.
It is not for the first time, the depraved lives of fake gods are being uncovered before the country. Another of such godmen, Gurmit Ram Rahim who subjected two nuns of his own ashram to rape, is now in Rohtak jail in Haryana. How easily these people who, even as they lead a life of vice pretent to be god before their following become so weak before law and justice, is exemplified by the swooning of Asaram promptly on hearing the verdict. And Gurmit Ram was wailing on the floor in the court room.
The courts and the media have an obligation to reveal the real face of the fake saints who exploit the people by posing as gods. We come to realize how they get elevated to the status of godmen in the shadow of power, only when we unroll the story of an ordinary youth who absconded from home after marriage, started a timber business, graduated himself into Asaram Bapu, and became sacred guru of gop administrators and lacs of followers. Asaram went about building up his spiritual enterprise by first starting schools and ashrams in various parts of Gujarat. In a matter of 40 years, he amassed a wealth of 10,000 crore rupees. Behind this chariot race of fraud, there was a liberal support of political parties and leaders. The Congress government that was in power during 1981-92 granted him land of 14.5 square meters. In Madhya Pradesh, the Digvijay Singh regime granted him title to 7 acres of land. As for BJP government, those like Asaram are their bulwark of vote bank. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, even when he was the chief minister of Gujarat, was a pet disciple of this man. During 1997-99, the BJP regime gifted to the ashram 25,000 square meters of land.
Undoubtedly these people, who exploit the sentimental strand of the common people who take them for gods or icons or guru, are are a real threat to the society. And how many such bad experiences, unrevealed so far, may be burning inside the psyche of victims! The source of the 'spiritual experiments' of most of these godmen is limitless libido. In their unceasing quest for the peak of pleasure, murder, plunder and rowdyism become accepted methods. We have seen how Gurmeet Ram's disciples had held Haryana and neighbouring areas to ransom and fear - a shameful state of even the administrative machinery paling to nothing before these hypocrites. And in the case of Asaram, the reason why the sentence of his case had to be delivered in a jail was the fear that his followers would run on a rampage outside the courtroom! For that very reason, this kind of godmen, who will exist as a permanent threat to the society, should never be let out of prison. And the prison cell is exactly the place they deserve.