Congress video shows PM Modi with convicted rapist 'Godman' Asaram Bapu

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The Jodhpur court found 77-year-old Asaram guilty of raping a teenager five years ago.

A case was lodged by the police on November 6, 2013, under various sections of the POSCO Act, Juvenile Justice Act and IPC against Asaram and four others co-accused- Sanchita, Sharad Chandra, Prakash and Shiva who were associates at Ashram at that time.

The father of the rape survivor expressed satisfaction at the verdict.

"We were living in constant terror, our business was adversely hit", he said.

A number of witnesses testifying against him have been attacked - and some killed - although it is not clear whether the guru was involved in those attacks.

"This judgment is a lesson to people who think they can get away by committing sexual offenses against children", said Yashwant Jain, a member of National Commission For Protection of Child Rights.

The girl's family said they had been followers of Bapu for more than a decade.

Now, the "godman" has been sentenced to life for raping the 16-year-old girl from UP. The case against him stems from 2013, when he was arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting the girl, who was then 16. Even if one excludes marital rape and assault from the analysis, the extent of reporting sexual violence is still small, the report said.

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Police in the nearby states of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Gujarat, where Bapu has a large following, were placed on high alert in anticipation of trouble, officials said.

Asaram's arrest spurred aggressive and massive protests in 2013 with his supporters blocking trains and highways. Repeated bail pleas were rejected by various courts, including the Rajasthan High Court and the Supreme Court.

The Hindu televangelist and yoga guru still commands a devoted following despite his star power fading following the rape charges and other controversies. Two Surat-based sisters filed separate complaints of repeated rape and illegal confinement during their stay at his ashram in Gujarat between 1997 and 2006.

Asaram Bapu was declared guilty by a Jodhpur court.

Security has been tightened across several states in India. Jodhpur is braced for violence from his many followers. He has also been investigated for murder and has been accused of forcing followers to undergo castrations to "get closer to god".

Born into a poor family in what is now Pakistan, Harpalani built his spiritual empire from the ground up.

Bapu has over 400 ashrams, or monasteries, in the country - and millions of followers worldwide.

Important Indian politicians, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, have attended his sermons in the past.