Self-styled gurus as criminals
The sentencing of Asaram Bapu after being convicted of rape, is a gratifying reminder that the wind is shifting slowly in the right direction, at least when it comes to godmen. Asaram being held guilty comes on the heels of another godman, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, head of the Dera Sacha Sauda, being convicted and sent to jail in a rape case. The violence his followers unleashed only made it more difficult for his supporters among politicians to protect him. Asaram too belongs to a similar category of criminals who hit upon a formula that would have made him invincible in an India of a few decades ago, where a mere combination of popularity and spiritualism was a licence to commit any crime ranging from rape to land grab to murder.
- Ravi Raj Goel, Dubai