Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Aug 25:
Despite the arrest of religious preacher Asaram Bapu, his disciples and followers have still reposed their unstinting faith on their guru which is evident in the Odisha capital.
Large number of devotees including high profile personalities and top bureaucrats turn up in large numbers to Bapu’s ashram at Khandagiri everyday to perform his worship.
Inside the ashram, a pair of wooden slippers of Bapu is placed inside the prayer hall which the devotees offer flowers.
While the ashram inmates organise satsang, bhajans and prayers in the name of the Bapu every day, special prayers are arranged on every Sunday where more number of devotees throng the ashram to participate en masse.
The devotees and disciples have no effect on the sexual harassment charges levelled against their guru.
“We know what our guru is. He has not done anything wrong. It is a well-orchestrated conspiracy against him. Attempts have been made to hurt our religious sentiments by defaming the Indian saints since ages. The reports published in the media are stage-managed by some overseas organisations”, they maintained.
It may be mentioned that the 74-year-old religious preacher, accused of sexually assaulting a minor, was arrested by the Jodhpur police from Indore on September 1, 2013.
The 16-year-old schoolgirl who studied at Asaram’s ashram in Madhya Pradesh’s Chhindwara and stayed in a girls’ hostel there girl had made a complaint at a police station in Delhi on August 20 and the spiritual leader has since then denied the allegation.
Though the Odisha government is aware that the ashram of Bapu has come up in an encroached government land and the Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA) has received a number of allegations in this regard, there has been no action till date.
Apart from this ashram, more than 400 ashrams and mutts have come up in government lands on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar.
The locals have demanded a thorough investigation into the modus operandi of these mutts and ashrams.