The Ministry of Home Affairs on Tuesday asked Rajasthan, Gujarat and Haryana to tighten security and deploy additional forces ahead of the verdict by a Jodhpur court in a rape case against self-styled godman Asaram, an official said.
In a communication, the Home Ministry told the three states to deploy additional forces in sensitive places and ensure that no violence takes place after the verdict. Rajasthan, Gujarat and Haryana have a large number of followers of Asaram.
The Home Ministry advisory has been sent in view of the 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.
In Jodhpur — where Asaram is lodged in the central jail — six companies of police force have been deployed to tighten security. While police are monitoring all vehicles entering the city, Section 144 has been clamped to prevent assembly of people that could result in untoward incidents, police said.
“We are patrolling and checking all places of stay in the city. We have also set up checkposts at various strategic points to check vehicles entering the city,” said Jodhpur police commissioner Ashok Rathore.
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A court in Jodhpur is set to pronounce its verdict in the rape case against Asaram and four of his associates on Wednesday. Asaram is accused of raping a teenage girl from Shahajahanpur of Uttar Pradesh, who was studying at the self-styled godman’s ashram at Chhindwara in Madhya Pradesh.
The victim had alleged that Asaram had called her to his ashram in Manai area near Jodhpur and raped her on the night of August 15, 2013. Four associates of Asaram — Sanchita alias Shilpi, Sharad Chandra alias Sharat Chandra, Shiva alias Sava Ram Hethvadiya and Prakash — were also named in the case.
“All the other accused, apart from Asaram and another man, are currently out on bail and their fate will also be decided in the verdict on Wednesday,” said PC Solanki, the victim’s advocate in the case.
Earlier, the Rajasthan HC had passed an order, directing the trial court to pronounce its judgment inside the Jodhpur Central Jail after the Jodhpur police filed a petition requesting the same citing security reasons.