Ahead of the verdict in the rape case of a 16-year-old girl involving self-styled godman Asaram Bapu, security has been beefed up in Jodhpur. The verdict in the case will be announced from inside the jail premises, as mandated by the Rajasthan High Court. As a precautionary measure police imposed section 144 in Jodhpur till April 30, banning the assembly of more than four people at a place. A close vigil is being kept at bus and railway stations along with hotels in the city. While entry points to the city have been sealed, authorities evacuated Asaram’s ashram located on the outskirts of the city.
Meanwhile, a Jodhpur court banned the entry of media persons inside the Central Jail for coverage of the Asaram Bapu case judgment. A petition was filed in the court seeking the entry of media persons in Jodhpur Central Jail. Also Read: What is Asaram Bapu case?
Asaram, who has been in jail since his arrest in 2013, is likely to be sentenced to 10 years if the prosecution proves the rape charges against him. Police have also tightened the security of the complainant, taking note of attacks on various witnesses in the case over the years. Three witnesses have died so far. The Rajasthan High Court on Tuesday had directed the trial court, hearing a sexual assault case against Asaram Bapu, to pronounce its judgment inside the Jodhpur Central Jail to prevent a breach of law and order situation in the city. Also Read: Centre asks three states to tighten security
The court had also directed the jail superintendent to make necessary arrangements inside the premises. “It cannot be said that (Asaram’s) followers will not create hurdle or unhealthy atmosphere which may create not only hardship and inconvenience to the public at large of Jodhpur city but also law and order problem,” the court said in its order. The godman faces another rape case in Surat where two girls have lodged a complaint against Asaram and his son Narayan Sai, accusing them of rape and illegal confinement.