January 15, 2015 2:29:45 am
An Ayurveda doctor, Amrut Prajapati used to run a small clinic from a shop below his apartment in Odhav area of Ahmedabad and was a consultant at Oum Shanti Arogyadham, a clinic run by the charitable trust Samaj Seva Kendra (SSK) in Rajkot. In the 1990s, he joined the Asaram ashram in Motera, Ahmedabad, as a vaid (medic).
In 2005, Prajapati’s widow Saroj says, her husband had his first close encounter with Asaram when the “godman” fell critically ill with malaria. “This was the only time he got access to Asaram’s special chamber. He saw the latter with three to four women on his bed and decided to cut off all ties.”
Soon after, Saroj claims, attacks on Prajapati began. In July 2008, he testified in the case of the mysterious deaths of two boys studying at the ashram.
In 2013, he was named one of the prime witnesses in a rape case filed by the elder of two sisters against Asaram.
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On the morning of May 23, 2014, Prajapati got a call from the Rajkot Arogyadham. A person speaking in Hindi identified himself as “Raju Patel from Rajkot” and sought an appointment with Prajapati for himself and his wife.
Given the attacks on him, Prajapati had been allotted a police guard. The guard was out for lunch when “Patel” turned up for treatment, without his wife.
There were other patients present at the Rajkot clinic at the time, and “Patel” left after Prajapati had examined him. When Prajapati was leaving his chambers later, “Patel” shot at him and sped away on a motorbike with another man.
On June 10, Prajapati succumbed to the bullet wounds, becoming the first witness against Asaram to be killed.
Saroj, who used to work as Prajapati’s assistant at the clinic, is struggling to make ends meet now. The couple had no children.
Says a bitter Saroj, “It’s been a year since vaidji (Prajapati) died, and nothing has changed. He knew everything that Asaram did to women in the name of giving ‘prasad’. Police failed to provide any security to my husband and other witnesses. I wish my husband hadn’t saved Asaram’s life during acute malaria. Whenever I see him (Asaram) on TV, I cry thinking that he is alive because of my husband but my husband is dead because of him.
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