Asaram's spokesperson, Neelam Dubey, has refuted suggestions that the guru's followers are planning to protest the verdict.
The police have also imposed Section 144 in Jodhpur until April 30, under which the assembly of more than four people at any place has been banned.
After arriving at the Jodhpur Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Court at around 8 am, judge Madhusudan Sharma moved proceedings to a courtroom on the jail premises, where the order was delivered. Security apparatus on high alert. He has been in the Jodhpur Central Jail for the last 56 months. "My team was shoved and it took them 10 hours just to be able to deliver that piece of paper", Lamba says.
Prayers are being held in several parts of northern India by Asaram's followers.
Asaram was represented in the court by eminent lawyers such as Ram Jethmalani and Subramanian Swamy. "We have also set up checkposts at various strategic points to check vehicles entering the city", Jodhpur police commissioner Ashok Rathore said. Senior government officials said they were not willing to take a chance in view of the cases of arson and rioting that broke out following Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh's rape case verdict, in Panchkula, in August a year ago.
Prosecution will press for maximum possible punishment. The defence is said to have examined 33 witnesses. Narendra Yadav, who works with a local vernacular daily, told NDTV of a particular incident, when a follower of Asaram came to him, carrying an envelope. The trust run by Asaram Bapu has appealed to followers to maintain peace.
The chargesheet says the cook and warden of the Chhindwara ashram claimed she was being possessed by evil spirits and needed to be exorcised by Asaram. The message being spread in the Whatsapp groups is that Asaram would be coming out of jail. On August 3, 2013, the Jodhpur Police had arrested Asaram and since then, he is lodged in Jodhpur Central jail. They met police officers earlier on April 20 and kept themselves away from the media.
The supporter managed to reach there despite high-security arrangements. However, six companies of the Police force have been deployed to tighten security. In a communication to the states, the MHA asked the governments to deploy additional forces in sensitive places and ensure that no violence takes place after the verdict.
Asaram's involvement was probed in two separate cases - one from Rajasthan and the other from Gujarat. The victim had alleged that Asaram had called her to his ashram in Manai area near Jodhpur and raped her on the night of 15 August 2013. Talking to ANI, Additional Advocate General Shiv Kumar Vyas had said,"The judgment will be pronounced in the jail keeping law and order of the state in mind on April 25".
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