Asaram wants special bed, gangajal in jail

NationPolice lathicharge Asaram supporters after they stopped a train protesting his arrest in Bhopal PTi

Self-styled godman Asaram Bapu, lodged in Jodhpur Central Jail over the alleged sexual assault of a minor, in a trial court Thursday sought special facilities such as a personal bed, gangajal, some herbs and medicines, books and a few other items to carry out puja inside the jail premises.

Asaram's lawyer, Pradeep Choudhary, argued that he be permitted the requisition considering his age.

Choudhary told reporters that the demands were being made in a court as the jail authorities had refused to comply. He cited a rule that provided any prisoner reasonable facilities in the jail permitted upon the discretion of the jail superintendent. "The facilities should be made available to my client considering his age. We had asked the jail authorities for the same but the request was turned down," Choudhary said.

The prosecution argued that Asaram was being checked by a medical team twice every day and was found to be physically and mentally fit and therefore such a demand did not hold ground.

The jail authorities did allow Asaram gangajal after he was shifted to the jail Monday evening but he had asked for more to take showers with it.

On the first day of his stay in jail, he was also permitted food from outside and his followers had got him fruits and sweets. But the authorities decided to deny him the special provisions considering his fitness. Officials said he was perfectly fine, was taking his usual medicines and hence did not need any additional herbs or medicines.

A decision on the matter is slated for Friday.

Meanwhile, co-accused in the case, Shiva, Asaram's attendant at the Manai ashram, told reporters on Thursday that he was being forced by Jodhpur Police to admit his involvement. Shiva alleged that the police had tortured him and pulled off his ponytail hurting his religious sentiments. He said the allegations on Asaram were a conspiracy by the Congress party.

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