Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde stumped many by referring with reverence and respect to
“Asaram Bapu ji,” a man who is accused of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old. Her statement to the police, accessed by NDTV, says that the 72-year-old spiritual guru threatened to hurt her and her family if she reported the crime.
Mr Shinde’s response came after politician Sharad Yadav asked him to explain what action the government is taking in the case of the spiritual leader.
In Rajasthan’s capital of Jaipur today, women activists held a demonstration demanding his arrest.
The teen says she was assaulted by Asaram Bapu, who has a vast following, earlier this month at his ashram in Jodhpur, one of many his organization runs around the country. Her police statement shares, “Before leaving the room, he again threatened me that he will cause a lot of harm to my parents, if I talk about this with anyone or to my parents.”
Asaram Bapu has denied the charges, admitting only to knowing and meeting the girl as the daughter of long-term disciples. He has been given four days to appear for interrogation in Jodhpur, but at his ashram in Indore in Madhya Pradesh today, he appeared unfazed. “She is blameless and pure,” he said. “Her parents are my disciples, that makes her my grand-daughter.”