Sex In The Ashram: Another Hindu ‘Holy Man’ Accused Of Rape

  @Gooch700 on August 26 2013 1:30 PM

A Hindu ‘holy man/guru’ has found himself in trouble for committing some very unspiritual acts. Asaram Bapu, who has millions of adherents across India and other parts of the world, has been summoned to appear before police in Jodhpur, Rajasthan to answer charges that he sexually assaulted a 16-year-old girl. (Some reports in Indian media claim she is only 15). Indian Parliament has also called for action against the guru, amidst a heavy scrutiny of sex crimes committed in India against women. NDTV in India reported that Jodhpur police have strong evidence against Bapu, including a detailed description from the girl of the ashram in Jodhpur where the attack apparently took place. 

Bapu, who has four days to respond to the summons, denied the charges and called them the result of a “conspiracy” against him. “Baseless allegations are leveled against me because I preach Indian culture during my discourses,” he said, according to Press Trust of India. “In the last four-and-a-half years, I was accused of practicing black magic and tantric practices but none of them stood the [test of] legal scrutiny.” He also told a Gujarati TV channel: "I am innocent. The girl has been misguided by someone. It is a conspiracy. I know who [is] behind this, but I don't want to name them.”

Bapu even compared himself to a very famous and influential holy man from centuries ago. “Lord Buddha, too, had faced such kind of allegations and I am also facing the same,” he declared. “But the truth will come out. I am appealing [to] my followers to keep calm, have patience and to ensure no harm is done to the family of this girl.”

Asaram even bizarrely stated that "even if they put me behind… bars, I am willing to go to jail with a smiling face… I consider jail as my Vaikunth [heaven]." The girl in question and her family have been his followers for the past twelve years. Bapu described the alleged victim as a like a “grand-daughter” to him and that her parents are some of his most devout disciples.

Based in a central ashram in Ahmedabad in Gujarat, the 72-year-old guru caused great offense earlier this year when he suggested that the Delhi gang-rape victim (who subsequently died from her injuries) might have been spared if she had pleaded for mercy from her attackers. Bapu, who operates more than 350 ashrams across India, has courted controversy before and faced serious trouble before the law himself.  Bapu was also suspected of involvement in the mysterious drowning deaths of two boys studying at one of his ashrams in the city of Ahmedabad in July 2008. However, police investigators absolved him of any responsibility after their probe concluded in April 2010.

Moreover, he is hardly the first Hindu holy man to be charged with sexual crimes. In June 2008, a guru named Swami Amritachaitanya was arrested in the southern Indian state of Kerala on charges of fraud, rape and drug possession. In the spring of 2010, Indian media feasted on reports of several swamis allegedly engaged in sexual practices and other forms of wrongdoing across the nation.

A New Delhi swami named Bhimanand Ji Maharaj Chitrakootwale was revealed to have run a massive prostitution ring comprising more than 1,000 girls, who “serviced” many politicians and big businessmen. Another guru, Swami Nithyananda of Bangalore, was filmed having sex with an actress (he claimed the video was “doctored” in order to frame him). After another similar sex video surfaced, the swami fled his ashram as a fugitive.

Other ‘holy men’ have been accused of such crimes as child sexual abuse, embezzlement and fraud. These allegations followed the public’s revulsion at gurus who have massed huge wealth and lived luxurious lifestyles. “Most god-men [gurus] are self-proclaimed, and they are being increasingly outed as hypocrites and fakes,” a retired banker in Bangalore named Ravi Ghatge told Indian media at the time. “Then everybody finds out that there is not an iota of spirituality in any of them.”

Perhaps the most famous Indian guru “gone bad” was the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi who allegedly sexually assaulted a young western woman in northern India in February 1968 while The Beatles attended one of his spiritual retreats. (He, of course, also denied the allegations).

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