Asaram Bapu, Falsely Evicted Or Killing Evidences ?
In a country with the population of 1.3 billion and with just a 100 police officers per 100,000 people, if the law enforcement takes some time it is understandable. But is it also acceptable when the lives of the people involved in this action of law enforcement are jeopardized because of the lack of security? This is not an everyday question. But in the light of recent events, and with prosecution witnesses always running in danger, it needs immediate answering. Friday night, the people saw one such example of judicial negligence when a prime witness in the Asaram Bapu rape case was shot dead.
Kripal Singh, a 35 year old LIC agent, was shot in the dead of the night while on his way back from work, in Shahjahanpur district of Uttar Pradesh. Two assailants on motorbikes, who are as yet unidentified, shot him and he was rushed to Bareilly after a bullet lodged itself in his spine. After reaching the hospital and despite the efforts to bring him back to life, he succumbed to the injuries at about 11:25 on the same night. Singh was a key witness in the case and had given his statement just three months ago against the self styled god man.
Asaram Bapu, who had proclaimed himself a seer, was arrested in September 2013, from his ashram in Madhya Pradesh for having sexually assaulted a 16 year old girl. Two months later, in another case along with his son, he was booked for alleged rape of two sisters at his ashram in Surat, Gujarat. As the criminal offenses against the father son duo kept increasing, the number of witnesses also kept rising. A total of 58 prosecution witnesses was registered till last month, out of which 41 had already been examined. But 8 of these witnesses have been attacked during the period of over two years, one of which died just like Kripal Singh. This other victim of judicial inadequacy was Akhil Gupta, formerly a cook at Asaram’s ashram and he too was shot dead in Muzaffarnagar. In another incident, akin to the two, a key witness, Dinesh BHagchandani was attacked in march 2014 where 2 motorcyclists threw acid on him.Fortunately, this wasn’t a fatal attack.
Is this just pure coincidence that all these attacks chose their victims from the witnesses of a single case? Or is this a planned endeavor to eliminate all those who can prove the criminality of the ‘godman’?
Before being shot, Kripal Singh, had given a statement in a court in Gandhinagar and had provided incriminating evidence to prove that Asaram Bapu had in reality been involved in the heinous crime. It is another coincidence that both the witnesses that have been killed were in the close circuit of Asaram’s confidantes, where Akhil Gupta served as a cook and Kripal Singh was a disciple of the seer. Singh was in fact employed at the transport firm whose owner’s daughter had lodged the case of sexual assault. She had alleged that Asaram’s disciples had lured her to his ashram in Jodhpur, Rajasthan on the pretext of getting her exorcised where she had been raped.
Amidst all these allegations and the appearance and disappearance of witnesses there were some people who also came to Asaram’s support. A BJP leader, Subramaniam Swami argued on his behalf and said that the whole case had been fabricated. He has claimed that Asaram is being falsely implicated by anti religious power and the entire case is based on circumstantial evidence.
Since the time Asaram has been arrested, nothing has been proved against him. This has only been worsened by the continued expulsion of witnesses from the scene. Kripal Singh, before being shot, had given a statement to Additional City Magistrate in which he alleged that people connected to Asaram Bapu had threatened him over the last few days. It can’t be said whether it really was Asaram’s people who had attacked and killed these witnesses since in this case there have been other false allegations. Some time back, a few photos of Asaram were released that showed him mingling with young girls. On investigation, however, these photos were found to be fabricated to encourage even more people against him. So these attacks can similarly be just acts of falsely implicating the man, as Swamy said.
As no evidence has been found, whatsoever, nothing can be established. Not his criminality, not his innocence. With the people divided in support and against him, the attacks have brought to our notice the lack of protection for the prosecution witnesses.
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