Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Brinda Karat on Wednesday blamed both the Congress Party and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for allowing spiritual leader Asaram Bapu to take liberties with the law, after he was accused of sexually assaulting a minor from Uttar Pradesh.
"It is absolutely shameful. What is happening in this case by not taking action, the Rajasthan Government is sending a message that if you show that you have the so called clout, then you can escape the law, even when it concerns the sexual assault of a minor," Karat said.
"Just because a man is a self-proclaimed guru or a saint does not mean, he is outside the ambit of the law. And, if there is a case, which there is, what he has been accused of-the case has to be registered, he has to be arrested and he has to be sent to jail. This is what every case of sexual assault has to be under the law of this country," she added.
Karat also slammed the Congress and the BJP for not taking swift and harsh action against Asaram Bapu, and said that the law and order developments of the case are shameful.
"Both parties are looking at the world through the lens of the coming election in Rajasthan. That is all they are bothered about. That is why the Congress Government in Rajasthan has most shamefully and shamelessly, in fact, have come on the same page as the BJP, who has defended this man directly. The Congress is indirectly helping them by not letting the law come into operation," Karat said.
"We strongly condemn this because this is really the worst kind of double standards for reasons, which are completely outside the ambit of the law. There are no provisions in the law of the country to have double standards," Karat added.
Karat also said that she could not understand how Asaram Bapu could come and defend himself in the public, in the way that he has.
"The case is all the worse because she's a child. And this man is saying that she's not a child because she's in class 12. I cannot understand this kind of perverted mentality that he has. These are not words that have been put into his mouth. ...What kind of understanding is this? And this is a man who proclaims himself to be a guru; and this is a man that the Rajasthan Government is supporting, directly or indirectly, by giving him time to concoct a case, to concoct an alibis and to escape justice," Karat said.
Self-styled godman Asaram Bapu on Tuesday reportedly said: "She is in class 12 and is a very smart girl. Calling her a minor is not correct."
According to media reports, Spiritual guru Asaram Bapu's son has defended his father in the sexual assault case and has called the victim 'mentally unstable'.
Earlier, the victim had said in her statement to the police that she was threatened by Asaram Bapu to remain silent about the incident.
Meanwhile, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot met Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde on Wednesday and briefed him about the police investigations related to the case.
Nobody is above the law, Gehlot told reporters after the meeting and also denied that the government was going soft on Asaram Bapu. He said Rajasthan Police is doing their job.
On Tuesday, Asaram Bapu had sought more time from Jodhpur Police for appearing before it in connection with sexual assault charges against him.
The 72-year-old godman, who personally received the police summons here for questioning in the case, has claimed he had been framed as part of a conspiracy.
Asaram Bapu has been booked under sections 376, 342, 506 and 509 of the IPC, section 8 of the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) and sections 23 and 26 of the Juvenile Justice Act in connection with the alleged assault. (ANI)