New Delhi (Sputnik) — A court in India's western state of Rajasthan has sentenced life term to a self-styled religious godman for raping a 16-year-old minor, police said on Wednesday. The special court's decision came five years after the victim filed a complaint alleging that she was raped by Asaram Bapu when she went to his religious retreat seeking relief from evil possession.
"This is a historic verdict for criminal jurisprudence. The truth has won. It shows that if the law works impartially, even persons from the weakest sections of the society can take on the most influential ones and get justice," Ajay Pal Lamba, the IPS officer who supervised the investigation into the case said.
#AsaramBapu is convicted for #raping a minor girl by Jodhpur Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Court. The incident of rape took place in 2013.— ANI Digital (@ani_digital) April 25, 2018
Read @ANI Story | https://t.co/ZRRLDe8knK pic.twitter.com/DxBR4GzuUt
In her complaint, the girl, who belongs to Shahjahanpur of Uttar Pradesh, said that she was asked to perform oral sex and was touched inappropriately.
The conviction has been made under the section of rape and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act that permits lifetime jail terms for sexual assault on children and was recently amended to allow the death penalty for the rape of girls younger than 12.
Meanwhile, security arrangements have been tightened across the country on the direction of the union home ministry to prevent a repeat of the large-scale violence after the conviction of another self-styled godman, Gurmeet Ram Rahim, in a rape case last August.
Asaram, along with his son, Narayan Sai, are also accused of repeated rape and illegal confinement of two Surat-based sisters, who stayed at Asaram's ashram (religious retreat) in Gujarat between 1997 and 2006. The trial of the case is underway in a separate court.