Asaram Bhaand :
Asaram Bapu, born Asumal Thaumal Harpalani or Asumal Sirumalani on April 17, 1941in the Berani village of the Nawabshah District in British India (present-day Pakistan), to Menhgiba and Thaumal Sirumalani. Following the partition of India in 1947, he and his family moved to Ahmedabad,Gujarat territory of Union of India of that time, nowRepublic of India, leaving behind their immovable assets in Sindh ,Thaumal, Asaram's father, subsequently founded a company which produced coal and wood.At one time (1958-1959) he sold tea in front of the Magistrate's office. After the death of his father, he learned meditation and spirituality from his mother. Over a period of years he acquired 10 acres of land in Gujarat, and he set up a small ashram. At that time he dropped his surname and began calling himself Asaram Bapu. He finally left his family and traveled the country, until he went to Vrindaban (land of Character Dila people) , to the ashram of saint Lilashah is a controversial Hindu preacher from India.He preaches the existence of One Supreme Conscious and claims Bhakti yoga, Gnana yoga and Karma yoga as influences.In early 1970, Asaram built his first ashram on 4 ha (10 acres) of land in Gujarat and began using the name Asaram Bapu. Presently, there are over 400 major and minor ashrams in India and abroad and numerous followers.Asaram has been involved in several controversies including criminal cases filed against him, encroachment by his ashrams, his remarks on the 2012 Delhi gang rape, and a 2013 charge of sexual assault of a minor.
Controversies Land encroachment:
In the year 2000, the Asaram Ashram was allocated about 10 acres (4 ha) of land in Bhairavi village of Navsari district by the Gujarat government. The ashram encroached on an additional 6 acres (6 ha), leading to protests in the local villages. On a complaint filed by locals, and after repeated notices were ignored, the district authorities with police assistance bulldozed the encroachments and took possession of the land. The Yog Vedanta Samiti of Asaram was reportedly given permission to use the premises of the Mangalya temple in Ratlam in Madhya Pradesh for 11 days for a satsang in 2001. The samiti failed to vacate the premises after the satsang, and continue to occupy a total of 40 ha (100 acres) of land, valued at over 700 crores. The land belongs to the now defunct Jayant Vitamins Limited. Asaram denied any involvement, saying the reports were baseless and untenable. The Nashik Municipal Corporation destroyed a part of Bapu's ashram in Bhilwara for a 10 year encroaching on government owned land.
Statements on 2012 Delhi gang rape victim:Asaram was widely criticized after his remark that the December 16, 2012 Delhi gang rape victim was equally guilty along with those responsible for the sexual assault on her. He is reported to have said: “Only five or six people are not the culprits. The victim is as guilty as her rapists… She should have called the culprits brothers and begged before them to stop… This could have saved her dignity and life. Can one hand clap? I don't think so.” He is also reported to have said that he was against harsher punishments for the accused in the Delhi rape victim case, as the law could be misused. To support his point, he is said to have stated that, “Dowry law in India is the biggest example of law being misused.” Asaram denied giving any statement in which he blamed the girl for the gang rape. According to him, his statement was distorted and presented in the wrong way. He announced a reward of 50,000 rupees for anyone who can prove he blamed the victim for the gang rape.
Allegations of sexual assault:In
August 2013, Asaram was accused of sexually
assaulting a 16-year-old girl at his ashram in Jodhpur
on the pretext of exorcising her from evil spirits. Two days after the alleged
assault the girl's parents filed a complaint with the police in Delhi and a medical
examination confirmed that she had been assaulted. When Asaram did not appear
for interrogation by August 31, Delhi police booked him under Indian Penal
Code sections 342 (wrongful confinement), 376 (rape), 506 (criminal
intimidation), and sections of the Juvenile Justice Act, and the Protection of
Children from Sexual Offences Act.
Asaram remained inside his other ashram in Indore and
avoided arrest while his devotees clashed with journalists and policemen
outside. Eventually, the Jodhpur police arrested him on September 1, 2013 from
his ashram. He has dismissed the girl's allegations and said accusations were a
conspiracy orchestrated by Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi
of the ruling Congress Party.
“In Gujarat, his rise also coincided with the rise of Hindutva forces. They
helped each other for mutual benefits. But his presence is now equally strong
in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, parts of Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh,” said the
retired IPS officer from Gujarat who had a run-in with Asaram.
The four dead boys and whispers of tantric rituals: Four boys were found dead under mysterious circumstances in two of his ashrams, one in Gujarat and the other in Chhindwara, Madhya Pradesh, in the middle of 2012. In a detailed report on the disappearance of two boys from the Asaram Ashram in Motera, Gujarat, Open Magazine says the father of one of the boys who went missing says he paid Rs 15,000 as fees but did not get a printed receipt. Bizarrely, when the boys went missing and could not be found, the administrator of the gurukul “told them to go around a peepal tree 11 times and ask for the children”. Later, Asaram apparently suggested that the parents should find a cross-road, “pick up seven stones, put the stones in hot water along with the children’s clothes and then take out the wet clothes inside out and hang them to dry in the children’s room”. The children were supposed to then return within four hours, according to the report. “Their bodies were finally recovered from a dried-up riverbed close to the ashram,” says the report.
Asaram’s devout followers have attacked the media: before Saturday’s attack on the media by ashram inmates was not a first either. In Gujarat, when the parents of the boys who were found dead insisted on a police complaint, they were reportedly confronted by a tempo full of ashram inmates armed with weapons and sticks. Then, as the media began to cover the story aggressively, according to the Open Magazine report, “…the media, including several women reporters, were targeted and mercilessly beaten up. Kuldeep Singh Kalair, a reporter with Divya Bhaskar, was locked up in a room in the ashram and beaten by sadhaks. He had to be rescued by the police.”His controversial intervention in the Delhi rape case—when he said “galati ek taraf se nahin hoti hai,” suggesting the victim of the sexual assault was equally responsible for the crime—has recently brought unwanted national attention to the man, but in Gujarat, Asaram and his Motera ashram have been in the eye of a storm since July 2008. The controversy involves the deaths of two ten-year-old cousins, Abhishek and Dipesh Vaghela, at the ashram’s Bal Kendra, on 3 July, a month after they were admitted there as students. On 23 January this year, seven disciples of Asaram accused in the Vaghela case were summoned by an Ahmedabad court.
In the aftermath of the disappearance of the Vaghela brothers from the heavily guarded Bal Kendra, the ashram administration, including Asaram and Darshan Sai, had initially played down the seriousness of the incident. The parents of the children were told that they had run away home, a fact vociferously contested by them. “My brother Shantibhai and I enrolled our children at the Motera ashram for education,” said Praful Vaghela, father of Dipesh.“We paid Rs 15,000 each but were not given pucca receipts. It was just a handwritten receipt. The children were given yellow T-shirts and white pajamas as uniform in the ashram. In that month, we visited them at least six to eight times. On 28 June, when we visited the ashram, their hair was tonsured and both had sandalwood tikas on their foreheads. I was uncomfortable with this,” said Vaghela. According to him, the children told him that the tonsuring was done in the presence of Asaram. On the afternoon of 3 July, Shantibhai met the children at the ashram. At 9 pm the same day, Praful Vaghela received a call from the ashram administration inquiring if the children had come home. The Vaghelas went to the ashram and looked for the children. At the end of their futile search, Pankaj Saksena, the administrator of the gurukul told them to go around a peepal tree 11 times and ask for the children.They did so but “nothing happened”. The family, Vaghela claimed, wanted to file a police complaint, but the Ashram administration did not allow them to do so. The family waited out the night and proceeded to the Chandkeda police station the next morning. Two office bearers of the ashram—Vikas Khemcha and Ajay Shah—were already there at the police station. “They went in and spoke to the police. Then they came out and told us to go inside. The police got angry with us when we demanded that a complaint be filed. They did not let us file one,” says the distressed father.
During this period Asaram sent a message to the parents that they should go to a char rasta (crossroad), pick up seven stones, put the stones in hot water along with the children’s clothes and then take out the wet clothes inside out and hang them to dry in the children’s room. The children would return within four hours. “The ashram people told us to wait for the mandatory four hours as directed by Asaram. Nothing happened,” said Vaghela. On the third day of the search, the ashram administration told the Vaghelas another bizarre story—the thumbnail of a 10-year-old gurukul resident had indicated that the missing children were at Kallol. Not surprisingly, that was not where the children were found. Their bodies were finally recovered from a dried-up riverbed close to the ashram.Vaghela can still vividly recall the harrowing sight—his son Dipesh’s arms were missing from the shoulder down. All the internal organs were missing, only the hollowed out ribcage remained. His left leg appeared to be cut off at the ankle, the right leg seemed burnt. His nephew Abhishek’s body was half burnt as well. Instead of helping the family, the policemen harassed them and refused to register complaints against Asaram and the ashram. “When I said the guilty should be arrested, we were told the consequences could be dire. Then we saw a tempo full of ashram inmates coming to the place where the bodies were recovered, armed with weapons and sticks. We ran away,” said Vaghela. Till this point, Asaram had always enjoyed a cosy relationship with the media. But when the media started reporting on the Vaghela case, many other skeletons started tumbling out of the ashram closets. The media, including several women reporters, were targeted and mercilessly beaten up. Kuldeep Singh Kalair, a reporter with Divya Bhaskar, was locked up in a room in the ashram and beaten by sadhaks. He had to be rescued by the police.The incident served to lend credence to the allegations of tantric practices by Asaram and his followers. The rumours had been around for a while, but before the deaths of these boys these were mere whispers. Meanwhile, in the Chhind- wara town of Madhya Pradesh, two other children were found dead in the residential institution run by Asaram. The students—Ramakrishna Yadav (a nursery student) and Vedant Moraya (Class 1 student)—were found in the hostel toilet on 31 July 2008. Here too, angry residents protested and demanded the closure of the ashram.Vaghela continues to maintain that Asaram and his son are involved in black magic and tantric practices, a claim he has made in his deposition before the Justice (retired) DK Trivedi Commission of Inquiry. The Commission, appointed by Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi to probe the deaths following the public outcry, has already been censured by the Gujarat High Court for going soft on Asaram and his son. The high court order on a petition filed by Asaram (15637/2012), challenging the Commis- sion summons to appear before it, stated: “a picture emerges where the Commis- sion has, on its knees, with folded hands craved the convenience of the petitioner and his son to record their evidence before it and this has continued for a period of more than one and a half years”. When Asaram appeared before the Commis- sion, after being summoned on six different occasions, he was accompanied by an entourage of slogan-shouting followers. Eyewitnesses say that even as the deposition before the Commission was on, Asaram would leave the room without permission, either to drink milk or address his followers.This brazenness in the face of the law is in keeping with this guru’s attitude to life. Initially, after the Motera ashram was set up, the numbers who came to listen to him were not large, but as local politicians started paying obeisance, they swelled. At the core of his attraction was an aggressive discourse that preached an ethic of ‘tit for tat’. The attitude is still visible at the sprawling Motera ashram.Beyond a huge peach-coloured arch, plastered with flex banners of the white-bearded preacher in elaborate head gear, two listless guards in khaki uniform watch people enter and exit the ashram. Many prostrate themselves at the ashram entrance before entering or leaving. Asaram speaks to the people via recorded discourses heard through the ashram compound, but few who come into the ashram seem interested in listening to the recorded version. It is the white kurta-pajama-clad male disciples, spread across various age groups, who catch their attention. They are everywhere—behind the various counters, walking around, talking in groups and working. They speak rough even with each other and some even use colourful expletives to make a point.At the far corner of the ashram stands the heavily guarded Bal Kendra. The presence of the guards is in keeping with the fear the name of Asaram invokes among present-day and former disciples when they discuss the godman. Two who have shared a close rapport with Asaram—Raju Chandak, a secretary, and Amrut Prajapati, personal physician—are running scared ever since they called it quits. Both claim to be privy to numerous illegal activities at the ashram. While Chandak has been shot at and wounded by three bullets following his deposition before the Trivedi Commission, Prajapati says he has been attacked at least six times by the ashram goons. Both are scared of sting operations done by the ashram, which have been furnished as proof before investigating agencies. Speaking to Open on telephone, a scared Chandak kept demanding proof that this reporter was not a part of a sting operation. “Asaram and his goondas have ruined my family life. We are running all the time because he has threatened to eliminate me. An attempt was also made. There is sexual exploitation going on at the ashram. I am being attacked because he does not want the illegal activities made public,” said Chandak.Prajapati spoke to Open at the Ayurveda Yog Centre in Ahmedabad’s Odav Circle. Responding to an advertisement for an ayurvedic doctor at one of Asaram’s ashrams, the BAMS-educated Prajapati met the godman for the first time in 1988. He was offered Rs 15,000 a month for a job that included food and accommodation. “I was entrusted with the job of setting up their ayurvedic formulation laboratory and allied services at the Surat ashram,” said Prajapati. As the number of disciples grew, Prajapati says Asaram insisted that they compromise on the quality of raw material used to prepare medicines. “Cow’s ghee was replaced by mixed ghee. I am also a witness to corruption and womanising. I saw these things closely when I became his personal physician. I could go to Asaram’s room at any time. One afternoon I went to his Jatikara farmhouse in Delhi. This was the day after his mother died. There was a woman in the room and it was a sight I should not have seen,” said Prajapti.“On 20 August 2005 I left the ashram after being threatened by them. I was scared. In September 2005, I was attacked by 10-15 people when I was visiting a friend in Ghaziabad. They threatened to kill me if I spoke against Asaram or the ashram. After the attacks I do not inform my patients about my schedule. I don’t even tell my family about my travel plans. This is the price I’m paying for the inability of the Gujarat police to protect me. There will never be justice. Even the Trivedi Commission will not be able to do anything to Asaram,” said Prajapati.The death of the boys is not the only allegation of wrongdoing against Asaram and his ashram. The cases against him range from the sinister to the bizarre, from land grab (in February 2009, the Gujarat government admitted in the legislative assembly that the Asaram ashram had encroached on 67,099 sq. m of land in Ahmedabad) to this allegation by a man blinded in one eye during a discourse, who has alleged that toffees were showered from a high-speed rotating machine at those in attendance. One such toffee hit him in the eye.Ashram spokesman Uday Sangani, an accused in the Vaghela case, dismisses the cases against Asaram and his associates as politically motivated. “It is perceived that Bapuji is close to the BJP due to his Hindutva teachings, hence the Congress has started this harassment.” He has been associated with the ashram for the past 17 years.After the minor filed a complaint with the Kamla Market police station in New Delhi on Tuesday, she underwent a medical examination that confirmed the sexual assault, a police official said. An FIR filed at the station was transferred to Jodhpur police, which will probe the matter.Jodhpur deputy commissioner of police Ajaypal Lamba told reporters the girl was studying at a school run by Asaram in Chhindwara, Madhya Pradesh. “According to the complaint, the girl had fallen ill at the school and the authorities had advised her parents to take her to Asaram who would do a special puja for her cure,” Lamba said.
After a satsang (religious assembly), Asaram had moved to his private ashram in Manai, 20km from Johdpur and called the girl there on August 14. A day later, he asked the girl’s family members to sit separately at different places for a puja.He then took the girl into his room and allegedly forced her into unnatural sex, threatening her that his guards would eliminate her family if she refused, Lamba said.However, Asaram’s spokesman Sunil Wankhede said, "The girl says the incident took place on Aug 15 at Jodhpur. But Asaram Bapu left Jodhpur on Aug 11, so how could this be true?" "We will take legal action against the girl,” he said.A native of Uttar Pradesh's Shahjahanpur district, the traumatised girl kept mum about the assault but broke down a couple of days later, the police said.Her family decided to confront Asaram on Tuesday at Delhi's Ramlila Maidan, where he was delivering a public sermon. When the family members were not allowed to meet him, they went to the Kamla Market police.In January, he triggered a massive public uproar when he told the media the Delhi gangrape victim could have saved herself by addressing her violators as brothers and asking for mercy.And then a time came when the list of his exploits came to outstrip his claims of godliness.The same Asaram who had once preached that “morality cannot survive in the absence of spirituality and materialism inevitably brings sorrow and misery” came to be known for his love for the good life. And then came the scandals.In 2008, two boys — Dipesh and Abhishek — studying in his Ahmedabad ashram disappeared. Their mutilated bodies were discovered a couple of days later on the banks of the Sabarmati river. “Our boys were killed and their organs were taken out to be used for black magic and then their bodies were dumped in the river,” alleged Praful Vaghela, father of 10-year-old Dipesh.A massive agitation was launched against the Modi government, which was perceived to be hand-in-glove with Asaram. Finally, the state government was forced to set up an inquiry commission headed by a former high court judge and the CID (crime) was asked to probe the deaths. Former ashram staffer Raju Chandak deposed before the commission and alleged that Asaram and his son were involved in black magic and tantric practices but Chandak was shot at and seriously wounded soon after his deposition. That was not the end of it. That year, in Chhindwara town of Madhya Pradesh, two other children were found dead in the residential institution run by Asaram. Then there were controversies involving tax evasion and land encroachment. Last week, a 16-year-old girl alleged that Asaram Bapu had sexually assaulted her in his Jodhpur ashram. This is the first time the godman has been directly implicated. Will the ‘miracle-worker’ manage to blow away this controversy too?
It is matter of shame that bunch of criminal Politicians and some section of rapist so-called Hindu Organisation is backing this culprit .I personaly thanks the media and the people of India in general that they are opposing this “Demon” and looking for “Death Sentence “ from the Court