India

Asaram Bapu missing; police to seal ashram where his supporters clashed with media

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Indore: Asaram Bapu, who has been accused of sexually assaulting a teenager, has gone underground, allegedly to evade the police, even as his supporters clashed with journalists at the guru’s ashram in Jodhpur, Rajasthan.

Near Asaram Bapu’s ashram in Jodhpur this morning, his supporters attacked journalists; six of them were detained by the police. As busloads of supporters started gathering at the ashram, the police, fearing trouble, clamped restrictions and cleared them out.

The police has been stressing in recent days that it is concerned about violent reactions from his followers as it preps to arrest him. The Rajasthan police has sent a team to find and question the 75-year-old guru, after he missed yesterday’s deadline to meet investigators in Jodhpur.

Sources say the guru is at his ashram in Indore in Madhya Pradesh, where top leaders of the ruling BJP are seen as his sympathizers.

He was last seen on Friday evening leaving the airport in Bhopal, where his supporters claimed he had missed a flight to Delhi. They then got into a fight with journalists there.

In Uttar Pradesh, the complainant’s father has started an indefinite fast demanding the self-styled godman’s immediate arrest.

The tactics in the last few days of Asaram Bapu suggest a concerted effort to avoid being arrested.

Yesterday, his son said he was unwell and could not travel to Jodhpur for interrogation; before that, his representatives said he was needed in Madhya Pradesh to attend the cremation of a relative. Earlier this week, he kept Rajasthan policemen waiting for seven hours before accepting a summons for his questioning.

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