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Religious guru nabbed on rape charge

A CONTROVERSIAL spiritual guru was arrested early yesterday on a rape charge filed by a teenage girl in the northwestern Indian state of Rajasthan, police said.

Asaram Bapu was arrested at a spiritual retreat in central India and flown to the city of Jodhpur, where police say he is wanted for allegedly raping the girl, said Ajay Singh Lamba, a top police officer.

The case is the latest in several high-profile rape cases in India that have fueled protests and raised questions about how police handle the cases and the victims.

The girl filed a complaint two weeks ago accusing the Hindu religious preacher of raping her when she visited his retreat in Jodhpur with her mother. The girl’s family says they have been followers of Asaram Bapu for more than a decade.

Asaram Bapu, who has hundreds of thousands of followers in India and is well known for his discourses on Hindu religion, has denied the charge.

There was drama on Saturday when police arrived at his retreat to arrest him, with hundreds of his supporters thronging the ashram and attacking television crews.

Asaram Bapu was grilled for nearly three hours before he was arrested, according to the police.

He outraged many Indians earlier this year when he said the victim of a gang rape on a New Delhi bus would have been let off if she had called her attackers as brothers and pleaded with them to spare her.




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