The rape case against self-styled godman Asaram by the Jodhpur court is set for its hearing. Fearing outbreak of violence that may follow the verdict, the Centre on Tuesday asked Rajasthan, Gujarat and Haryana to tighten security and deploy additional forces, police sources said.
Asaram is accused of raping a young girl from Shahajahanpur of Uttar Pradesh. The victim was studying at his ashram at Chhindwara in Madhya Pradesh.
In a communication, the Home Ministry told the three states to ensure that no violence takes place after the verdict. The three states were told to beef up security and deploy additional forces in sensitive places. The three states have large number of followers of Asaram.
A court in Jodhpur will pronounce its verdict in the rape case against Asaram on April 25.
In March, Judge Madhu Sudan Sharma of the Jodhpur court heard the final arguments from the prosecution and defence counsel and reserved the order for April 25.
Following the directions of the Rajasthan High Court, the trial court will deliver its verdict in the case in Jodhpur Central Jail premises.
The victim had alleged that Asaram had called her to his ashram in Manai area near Jodhpur and raped her on the night of August 15, 2013.
Asaram was charged under sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, and the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. A charge sheet against Asaram and four other co-accused - Shiva, Shilpi, Sharad and Prakash - was filed by the police on November 6, 2013 under various sections of the POCSO Act, Juvenile Justice Act and IPC.
Following the charge Asaram was arrested and has been in jail since August 31, 2013. The trial of the case began in the district and session court on March 19, 2017, which was shifted to the special court for SC/ST Cases on December 16, 2016. If convicted, he could be jailed for a maximum of 10 years.
Asaram is also facing a rape case in Gujarat.