File photos of spiritual guru Asaram Bapu and his son Narayan Sai, jailed in rape cases
Spiritual leader Asaram Bapu, in jail for nearly two years over charges of rape, turned to sarcasm today when asked about an attack on a key witness against him - the sixth till now and the third this year.
"Duniyaan mein sabhi hamle main hi karwata hoon
(I am responsible for all the attacks in this world)," he quipped while being taking to court in Rajasthan's Jodhpur.
The 74-year-old guru has been in a Jodhpur jail since August 2013, over allegations of raping a 16-year-old schoolgirl at his ashram earlier that year. Two months later he, along with his son Narayan Sai, were booked for the alleged rape of two sisters at their ashram in Gujarat's Surat.
In the time that they have been in jail, six witnesses have been attacked and two have died. The most recent attack took place yesterday.
Mahendra Chawla, a former assistant to Asaram's son, was shot at in Panipat in Haryana by two masked men who came on a bike when he was alone at home. He tried to jump off the balcony but was shot twice in the back.
His security officer, who had joined only a month back, had taken a break at the time.
The 32-year-old had worked for Narayan Sai between 2001 and 2005 and had agreed to testify against him in the Surat rape case. He is stable after a surgery to extract two bullets from his body.
In January this year, Akhil Gupta, the cook and aide of Asaram, was killed on his way home from work in Uttar Pradesh. Last year, Asaram's physician Amrut Prajapati was shot dead in Gujarat. Three others have survived attacks on them.