Asaram verdict a conspiracy, say followers
Asaram’s followers are convinced he has been framed and refuse to believe that their "gurudev" could have committed a crime like rape as he has been served life imprisonment by a Jodhpur court for the rape of a minor girl.
Soon after the court pronounced the verdict on Wednesday, the godman’s followers gathered at the heavily barricaded Sant Shri Asharamji Bapu Ashram. They were on a fast and praying inside for the man who "motivated” them to move forward with their lives. They said their fight to ensure Asaram's release from jail would never end.
The following are what his followers told PTI:
"Even if Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh came and told me that Bapu had done this, I would not believe them.
"My life would have ended but I am alive only because of Bapu. He taught us to live our lives in this very society, to do good deeds and make people understand what he is," a young Jyoti said.
"What has happened (to Asaram) is completely wrong. Our Bapu is an all-knowing saint. He is not like Ram Rahim. We will continue to pray for him," Jitendra Malik from Shamli, UP, who joined the cult on the advice of his mother 15 years ago, said.
Yoga instructor B Mukesh termed the allegation a "conspiracy" against the godman.
"Allegations can be made against anybody. He could never do something like this. I know this is a conspiracy. But I have full faith in our judiciary, and I know the truth will prevail," Mukesh said.
Another follower by the name Pradeep Mishra, said he was determined to ensure his Bapu got "justice".
"We don't believe in the verdict at all. The court is an established institution and we have to respect the verdict, but our democracy also gives us the right to appeal the case in a High Court and the Supreme Court," he said.
Jyoti reiterated that Asaram could not have committed a sex crime. "When Bapu began his search for God, his wife had asked him not to go but he had said he would start a family as a married man only after he found God. So how can a pure man like him, who would not even touch his wife, be accused of doing something so disgusting to a girl," Jyoti asked.
The ashram that lie inside the forested area of the Ridge is among the 400 complexes that Asaram is believed to own.
Apart from Asaram, two other accused, Shilpi and Sharad, were convicted by the Jodhpur special court on Wednesday.