New Delhi, April 25: With the Jodhpur Schedule Caste and Schedule Tribe Court set to prononunce its verdict in the rape case against the self-styled godman Asaram Bapu on Wednesday, Rajasthan has turned into a fortress. The Centre has asked three state, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Haryana, to tighten security and deploy additional forces ahead of the verdict. The three states were also told to deploy additional forces in sensitive places, a Home Ministry official said.
Notably, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Haryana have a large number of followers of the self-styled godman. The Home Ministry advisory has also been forwarded in view of the fact that large-scale violence was witnessed in Haryana, Punjab and Chandigarh after a special court pronounced its verdict in a rape case against Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim last year.
Section 144 imposed till April 30
The Jodhpur Police have said that Section 144 of Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) will be imposed in Jodhpur till April 30. Speaking to reporters, a police officer said,“Rajasthan High Court made arrangements for judgement in Asaram rape case to be pronounced inside Jodhpur Central Jail on April 25. Section 144 of CRPC will be imposed in Jodhpur till April 30.We appeal to the public to follow the order. More than four people can’t assemble in public.” (Also Read: Asaram Rape Case Verdict on April 25: A Look at The Timeline)
“We will not tolerate any kind of nonsense. We have taken all precautionary measures. We are confident that we will be able to handle law and order,” Jodhpur East (DCP) Amandeep Singh Kapoor stated.
National capital on alert
Delhi-NCR is also on alert ahead of the verdict in the rape case. “Delhi police is alert and is in touch with concerned states. All field formations of police put on alert. Adequate forces will immediately be deployed if required. All officers will be present in their areas,” informed Delhi Police CPRO Deepender Pathak.
Victim’s house under tight security
Security has also been beefed up around the victim’s house in Shahjahanpur, Uttar Pradesh. “The security of the victim’s family is continuously being monitored. Five policemen have been deployed at the house and a strict vigil is being maintained on all the visitors,” SP (City) Dinesh Tripathi told PTI. “I am personally reviewing the security as the court judgement likely to come soon and officials are in touch with the family,” the Superintendent of Police (SP) said. The father of the victim said that he had complete faith in the judiciary and was confident that justice would be done.
We have provided full security and safety to the victim and her family members and are alert: KB Singh, CO, Shajahanpur ahead of verdict in Asaram rape case tomorrow.
— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) April 24, 2018
Verdict inside jail
The judgement in the case will be pronounced inside Jodhpur Central Jail to avoid any law and order situation in the state. The police had filed a petition in the high court stating that Rajasthan may witness Panchkula-like violence, which broke out after the conviction of controversial godman Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in a rape case. Talking to ANI, Additional Advocate General Shiv Kumar Vyas had said,”The judgment will be pronounced in the jail keeping law and order of the state in mind on April 25.”
Court refuses media coverage
A day ahead of the verdict in the rape case against the self-styled godman Asaram Bapu, the Jodhpur court on Tuesday dismissed a petition seeking entry of media persons in Central Jail for the coverage. Earlier in 2013, the Supreme Court had refused to entertain a plea of Asaram for restraining the media from covering the sexual assault case against him. “At present, we cannot entertain your petition,” a bench comprising Chief Justice P Sathasivam and Justice Ranjan Gogoi had said then.
About the case
Two sexual assault cases were filed against the self-styled godman Asaram, one in Rajasthan and the other in Gujarat. In the case registered in Rajasthan, a teenage girl had accused Asaram of sexual assault at his ashram in Manai village near Jodhpur. While in Gujarat, two Surat-based sisters had lodged separate complaints against the Godman and his son Narayan Sai, accusing them of rape. On August 3, 2013, the Jodhpur Police had arrested Asaram and since then, he is lodged in Jodhpur Central jail. He was charged under relevant sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. If convicted, Asaram faces a maximum sentence of 10 years. He has unsuccessfully moved 12 bail applications, of which 6 were rejected by trial court, 3 by the Rajasthan high court and 3 by the Supreme Court.