Asaram Bapu: Media hounded me for 4 years, found nothing against me

After blaming the Delhi gangrape victim for being partially responsible for the heinous crime and then bad-mouthing the media, spiritual leader Asaram Bapu on Wednesday changed tacks and tried to steer clear of the controversy during his Satsang at Kelgaon in the temple town of Alandi in Pune district.

Reiterating he was quoted out of context, he said, "I have been misunderstood. I never said what has been attributed to me. I can never say anything that belittles the dignity of the brave girl."

Well before Asaram arrived at Kelgaon ashram, thousands from across Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Maval, Khed and Mulshi had turned up to hear the spiritual leader who has been in and out of controversies for the past four years. Asaram's helicopter landed near the ashram around 4pm. Around 5.30pm he walked out of his "kuti" and headed for the stage.

As he took centrestage, Asaram refused to touch the controversy over which he is facing fire across the country and saved it for last. Towards the end of his discourse, he said, "Mera bhashan ko tarod marod ke dikhaya ja raha hai...(They are twisting my words and showing it on television). Let them show it completely, it will become clear what I actually said. I did not say even one word that would demean the dignity of the victim," he said.

Referring to another controversy surrounding him that erupted four years back, Asaram said, "For the last four years, media has been after me, but they have found nothing against me. They will find nothing because I have done nothing wrong," he said.

At the Satsang, organisers went all out to keep the media out. The organisers had put their own cameras in place. The media was told Asaram Bapu does not need any publicity. The Satsang would continue on Thursday. The media was told Asaram would answer questions after the Satsang, but that did not happen.

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