An Indian spiritual guru, Asaram Bapu, who has a following of over a million people across the globe has been convicted of raping a 16-year-old girl who was a devout follower, in 2013. This highlights one of the many examples of when someone in a position of power has taken advantage of this and assumed their position of power would excuse them of a horrendous crime. It also highlights the hypocrisy of the seemingly moral and peaceful spiritual following.
However, many of his devout followers still see him in a ‘god-like’ way, refusing to accept his conviction, unwilling to accept that he could do anything wrong. The fact that 3 witnesses have been killed further highlights how many don’t want to accept the truth or see him as he truly is. For many, something as awful as the rape of a minor can still be pardoned, expressing that violence against women needs to be treated with even more concern and severity.
Worries of riots by his devout followers means Jodhpur is on high alert, and his verdict was delivered from the city’s jails.
The Guru forced her to perform sexual acts on him and raped her, masking it as ‘curing her’ of ghostly powers. When the victim told her parents about what happened, they were denied into his ashrams to confront him and ever since the attack, the victim’s family has been threatened.
This is not the only account of sexual assault the guru has been accused of, Asaram is also accused of raping another woman in Gujarat between 2002 and 2004, an investigation which is underway.
Many other gurus that have a large international following have also been accused of sexual assault, such as Baba Rampal, who is in jail facing a number of serious charges and in 2017, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was convicted for 20 years for rape.