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After Asaram's arrest, girl's family ends fast

The family of the girl who lodged a sexual assault complaint against Asaram Bapu broke their hunger strike after the spiritual guru’s arrest on Sunday.


Making an entry: Asaram Bapu being escorted by the police at Jodhpur airport. Pic/AFP 

The 72-year-old guru was arrested in Indore on Saturday night after charges of sexual assault were levelled against him by the 16-year-old
girl.

Asaram was flown to Jodhpur under arrest on Sunday.

The girl lodged a complaint at a police station in Delhi on August 20, accusing Asaram of sexually assaulting her at his ashram in Jodhpur. Asaram has denied the charge, and his son has claimed the girl was ‘mentally unstable’.

The girl’s father and a few relatives, based in Shahjahanpur in Uttar Pradesh, began their hunger strike on Saturday morning, pressing for legal action against Asaram.

After ending the fast, the father thanked the media for focussing on the case, and said this put pressure on the Rajasthan government and police to arrest Asaram. He requested police to file charges against Asaram so that he is tried early. Asaram should be treated as a common criminal, and he should not be given bail, the father said. The police said they would provide protection to the girl’s family after it received threats from Asaram’s supporters.

‘I’m innocent’
But even as the girl’s family takes some respite in Asaram’s arrest, the godman continues to claim his innocence while being questioned by the police.
He denied the allegation of sexual assault levelled against him by a minor girl, Jodhpur Police Commissioner Biju George Joseph said.

“Asaram denied the charges and said he is innocent,” Joseph said.

Police officials said a Rajasthan court had granted them Asaram’s one-day remand for questioning.

The police chief said Asaram had undergone a medical examination and the doctors had declared he was fine.

“We would recreate the crime scene during investigation and the accused would be taken to the place of incident,” said Joseph.

Earlier, a Rajasthan police team flew Bapu to Jodhpur city in the afternoon after arresting him past midnight on Saturday from his ashram in Indore in Madhya Pradesh. He was welcomed at the airport with protests.  

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