Controversial Indian guru arrested over alleged rape of teenage girl


A controversial spiritual guru was arrested today on a rape charge filed by a teenage girl in the northwestern Indian state of Rajasthan.

Asaram Bapu was arrested at a spiritual retreat in central India and flown to the city of Jodhpur, where police say he is wanted for allegedly raping the girl, police said.

The case is the latest in a series of high-profile rape cases in India that have fuelled public protests and raised questions about how police handle the cases and treat the victims.

The girl filed a complaint two weeks ago accusing the Hindu religious preacher of raping her when she visited his retreat in Jodhpur with her mother. The girl’s family says they have been followers of Asaram Bapu for more than a decade.

Asaram Bapu, who has hundreds of thousands of followers in India and is well known for his discourses on Hindu religion, has denied the charge.

There was drama Saturday when Rajasthan police arrived at his retreat to arrest him, with hundreds of his supporters thronging the ashram and attacking television crews.

Asaram Bapu was questioned for nearly three hours before he was arrested, police said.

The spiritual leader caused outrage earlier this year by saying the victim of a gang rape on a New Delhi bus would have been let off if she had addressed her attackers as brothers.