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Asaram Bapu rape case verdict today: Jodhpur turns into a fortress

Asaram Bapu rape case verdict today: Jodhpur turns into a fortress

"It can not be said that [Asaram's] followers will not create hurdle or unhealthy atmosphere which may create not only hardship and inconvenience to the public at large of Jodhpur city but also law and order problem", the court said.

A special Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe court in Jodhpur is all set to pronounce its verdict in a 2012 rape case against self-styled godman Asaram Bapu. The Centre has asked three state, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Haryana, to tighten security and deploy additional forces ahead of the verdict.

"The top MHA officials have spoken to the Chief Secretary and Director General of Police of these three states in this regard", a Home Ministry source said.

In a communication, the Home Ministry told the three states to deploy additional forces in sensitive places and ensure that no violence takes place after the verdict. Apprehending trouble from thousands of followers of Asaram in case of an adverse judgment, a division bench of the Rajasthan High Court on Tuesday considered Jodhpur Police Commissioner's appeal and ordered the trial court to deliver the verdict inside the jail premises. Due to security concerns, the sentence will be pronounced from inside the jail itself. "The magistrate along with court staff, Asaram and the co-accused along with the defence and prosecution counsels will remain present in the courtroom in the jail premises", he added.

Asharam Bapu was arrested in 2013 after a minor girl from Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh had reported sexual assault by him in his ashram on the outskirts of Jodhpur. Asaram has denied the rape charges. On August 3, 2013, the Jodhpur Police had arrested Asaram and since then, he is lodged in Jodhpur Central jail. "The security of the victim's family is continuously being monitored. Besides this, we have been keeping a sharp eye on Asaram's ashrams and checking all hotels and guest houses as well as the bus and railway stations", DCP (East) Aman Deep Singh said in Jodhpur.

In the Asaram rape case, the trial court heard final arguments on April 7 and reserved the verdict April 25. He is in judicial custody since September 2, 2013.

In November 2013, the Jodhpur police filed a chargesheet against Asaram and four co-accused in the rape case. If convicted, he could be jailed for a maximum of 10 years. Asaram has also asked his followers not to travel to Jodhpur as it would be waster of time and money.

Jodhpur Police said that Section 144 will be imposed in the area until April 30, according to an ANI report.