PATNA: After routinely targeting security forces and the railways, Maoists in Bihar’s Aurangabad district on Sunday threatened to attack the ashram of Asaram Bapu, jailed controversial spiritual leader charged with rape, police said. A district police official said a group of armed Maoists ransacked the wire fencing of Asaram’s ashram, and hoisted red flags within the premises two days ago.
“The threat from the Maoists is clear. They have demanded that the ashram be shifted out of the town. If it does not shift, it could be attacked,” police officials said. Many other ashrams in the state too have felt ripples of fear and panic, ever since the threat by the Maoists.
“We live in fear. The diktat of the Maoists carries more weight here than that of security people,” said a staff member of the ashram in Aurangabad to IANS on phone, on condition of anonymity. Aurangabad, considered a stronghold of the Maoists, is one of the districts worst-affected by violence in Bihar.
District administration has beefed up security for the ashram in view of the threat. There are over a dozen Asaram Bapu ashrams in Bihar. Asaram Bapu, 72, is currently under trial in a case relating to sexual assault of a minor girl. He is lodged in Jodhpur Central Jail in Rajasthan.
Asaram’s 41-year-old son Narayan Sai, accused of rape, was arrested too. Sai has since confessed that he raped a woman in Surat who lived in his father’s ashram. The son also admitted to physical relations with eight other women followers of his father.