New Delhi: Asaram Bapu, whose deadline to meet with the police in Jodhpur expires today, will miss his appointment because he is unwell, his son said today. The 72-year-old spiritual leader, who is accused of sexual assaulting a schoolgirl, remains in Madhya Pradesh at his ashram in Bhopal, one of nearly 400 around the world.
The guru's supporters say he needs to stay in Madhya Pradesh because his relative there has died. Yesterday, the self-styled "godman" lost his temper with reporters and said,"I'm ready to go to prison, that is also a kind of heaven for me."
For all the bluster, the guru's actions have suggested a determined intent to avoid interrogation. When a team of the Rajasthan police arrived in Madhya Pradesh earlier this week to serve him summons for his interrogation, he kept them waiting for seven hours; his assistants said he was meditating and could not be disturbed.
"If you're a public figure & have made a mistake,you must publicly admit it.People have bigger hearts than you think.They'll forgive & forget," tweeted the massively-popular guru Sri Sri Ravishankar this morning in an apparent reference to the Asaram case. He also posted, "When men with high caliber & integrity make a mistake, they would punish themselves much more severely than the laws."
Asaram Bapu has said the allegations of sexual assault are a political conspiracy crafted by Congress leaders Sonia and Rahul Gandhi. His son has described the teen complainant as mentally ill.
In Madhya Pradesh, where he has spent most of this week, a spray of senior leaders of the ruling BJP have spoken in his support.
On August 15, in Jodhpur, Asaram Bapu allegedly told the 16-year-old's parents that he needed to spend time with her after being told of concerns she was possessed by evil spirits, the police said.
"He asked her parents to recite some religious Mantras at the entrance gate and took the girl inside his room where he allegedly exploited the girl," senior police official Ajay Lamba said to news agency AFP.