Hassled by the over-enthusiastic followers of Asaram Bapu gathering in large numbers during his court appearances in the rape case, police have again moved a plea in Rajasthan High Court for shifting the trial to jail premises.
The High Court has issued notices to Asaram and other co-accused of the case seeking reply in two weeks on the application which was filed yesterday. “Managing these supporters of Asaram has become a headache for us.
We have to rope in a large number of policemen to keep them away from Asaram. They are sometimes picked up and then dropped on the outskirts of the city to maintain law and order,” a senior police official said.
Last year, the hearing of the case had been ordered to be held in the jail court because of the same reasons but the order of the High Court administration was challenged by Asaram in the High Court.
It allowed hearing of the case in the court premises on the condition that Asaram would not make comments to media and appeal to his supporters not to make a scene on the court premises and on the road from the jail to court.
The official said the followers of Asaram “risk their lives and sometimes come so close to his vehicle that it may lead to accident”.
“Holding the hearing in jail court would also ensure safety of Asaram as he might also become a target of his opponents,” he said. A teenage girl has accused self-styled godman Asaram of sexual assault at his ashram in Manai village near Jodhpur.
The girl belonging to Shahjahanpur in Uttar Pradesh was a student at the ashram. Following her complaint against Asaram, he was arrested by Jodhpur police on August 31, 2013 and is in jail since then.