Demand in LS for stern action against Asaram Bapu

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ASARAMNew Delhi, August 26; Members in Lok Sabha on Monday demanded stern action against self-styled godman Asaram Bapu, against whom a teenaged girl has slapped rape charges, prompting the government to say the probe against him was underway.

The issue came up during the Zero Hour when the House was discussing the progress in probe on the recent gangrape of a Mumbai-based photojournalist.

“There is one sadhu who is taking the country for a ride. What have you done in the case? A young girl has slapped rape charges against him. Government should say something and do something on this. Why don’t you speak on this,” the JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav told Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde after he made a statement on the Mumbai gangrape case.

“Punishing this sadhu will send a strong message across the country,” Mr. Yadav asserted, with several members including Gurudas Dasgupta (CPI) demanding stringent action against the controversial godman. The members wanted to speak on the subject but were not allowed by Speaker Meira Kumar.

“Asaram should be hanged,” shouted Mr. Dasgupta. He also said there have been growing incidents of rape across the country including gangrape of a lady constable in Jharkhand. “These incidents bring shame to us and also to government agencies,” he said.

In the melee, Harsimrat Kaur (SAD) also demanded death sentence for all such culprits.

Responding to the members, Mr. Shinde said cases like those of Asaram Bapu and the Jharkhand constable were “primarily the concern of states. They are in preliminary stages of investigation.”

“I don’t have information on them. Whenever I get the information, I will inform the House,” he said.

A 15-year-old girl has in lodged a written complaint with the police charging Asaram Bapu with sexually assaulting her in his Jodhpur ashram. Asaram has denied the charge.

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