Section 144 ahead of Asaram's verdict

Asaram is accused of raping a minor girl at his ashram in Manai village near Jodhpur. (Reuters file photo)

Ahead of self-styled godman Asaram Bapu’s rape case verdict on April 25, Jodhpur Police has imposed Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) till April 30 in an attempt to prevent any untoward incidents in the city.

This comes after the Rajasthan High Court directed authorities to ensure adequate security arrangements to avoid breakdown of law and order.

Section 144 will be in place in Jodhpur from April 21 to April 30. Speaking to DH, DCP (east Jodhpur) Amandeep Singh said, "The order prohibits more than four people from assembling at one place in public. Moreover, the preparations needed for the pronouncement of the verdict from the jail premises is underway.

Earlier, the Rajasthan High Court on Tuesday had directed the trial court, hearing a sexual assault case against Asaram Bapu, to pronounce its judgment inside the Jodhpur Central Jail to prevent a breach of law and order situation in the city.

The high court had also directed the jail superintendent and district administration to make all arrangements in the prison for pronouncement of the judgment.

"The precautions have been taken by keeping in view the clashes that broke out last year following the verdict in the Gurmit Ram Rahim Singh case where he was awarded two consecutive 10-years terms", Singh said.

The police, in its application to the high court, had stated that a huge number of Asaram's followers would be present in the city on the day of the judgement, who may indulge in vandalism following the verdict.

Asaram is accused of raping a minor girl at his ashram in Manai village near Jodhpur.

The girl is a native of Shahjahanpur in Uttar Pradesh and was a student living in the ashram, which is close to Jodhpur.

Asaram was arrested on August 31, 2013, and since then is housed in the Jodhpur Central Jail. He appealed for bail five times, but they were rejected.

He was charged under the sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act and the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

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