India guru jailed for life for raping teen

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Self-styled godman Asaram was sentenced to life in prison - until death - by a special trial court, which earlier today found him guilty of raping a minor +in 2013.

Asaram, who is now lodged in the Jodhpur Central jail, was facing trial in two sexual assault cases: one in Rajasthan and the other in Gujarat.

The guilty verdict was handed down Wednesday amid high security at Jodhpur Central Jail in the western state of Rajasthan, according to local Police Commissioner Ashok Rathore.

An Indian spiritual guru who claims to have millions of followers worldwide has been convicted of raping a teenage devotee in the latest scandal to befall the country's self-styled "godmen".

Asaram was found guilty of sexually assaulting a then 16-year-old follower during a religious ceremony meant to cure her of evil spirits, held at his ashram in Manai village near Jodhpur, on August 15, 2013. The 16-year-old girl from Shahjahanpur in Uttar Pradesh was studying at Asaram's ashram in Chhindwara in Madhya Pradesh. 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.

The Jodhpur rape case, for which he has been convicted, has also seen the victim's family threatened by his followers.

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Asaram's involvement was probed in two separate cases - one from Rajasthan and the other from Gujarat. Describing the assault, she said: "He told me he was god, and that I should offer myself to him and started touching me". "The media coverage against Asaram demoralised his supporters which allowed us to arrest him without any major instance of violence", he said, adding that there was neither any political pressure on the police to weaken the case during the past four years. "I also hope the witnesses who were murdered or kidnapped get justice too", the father told reporters here after the Jodhpur court announced the verdict.

The two other people convicted in the rape got twenty years each in prison.

Asaram was arrested in Indore and brought to Jodhpur on September 1, 2013. He is under judicial custody since September 2, 2013. The government has been pressurized due to the outrage that called for non-politicalisation of the rapes irrespective of the fact that the majority party's MLA's stood accused in the case.

He is married to Lakshmi Devi and has a son Narayan Sai and a daughter who take care of his property.

Now, the "godman" has been sentenced to life for raping the 16-year-old girl from UP.

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