Rape remark row: Asaram calls media ‘barking dogs’

A day after his remarks suggesting that the Delhi gangrape victim was also to blame for the crime led to sharp criticism, spiritual leader Asaram Bapu on Tuesday blamed the media for the controversy, and called them "barking dogs".

This came even as a complaint was filed in a Lucknow court, seeking registration of an FIR against him for allegedly using words intended to insult the modesty of a woman.

At his satsang in Pandharpur, he told followers, "The media has created this controversy." He went on to give the example of Rajendra Prasad. "When Rajendrababu became President, some small newspapers wrote negative reports about him. When big newspapers approached Rajendrababu, he refused to comment for three-four days..."

"After they persisted for quotes, Rajendrababu spoke from the heart, citing the example of an elephant walking on the road. One dog barked at it and was soon joined by other dogs. Had the elephant chased the dogs, it would have increased the value of the dogs... Similarly why should I chase them," he said, referring to the media. "Hum unhe kutta nahin kehte, per Rajendrababu ki baat soona dete hain, samajhne wale samajh jaate hain (I don't call them dogs, but cite the words of Rajendrababu. They should understand.)"

Before the satsang, Asaram said his Monday remarks were taken out of context by the media. "Let them show the complete 15-minute clip. Whatever I said was in reply to a question from the general public. A man complained to me that his wife fights with him, I told him you can't clap with one hand," he said.

Describing the Delhi gangrape victim as his "daughter and sister", he, said, "Why would I side with the perpetrators... Whatever was being shown on TV was distortion of my quotes." Less than a kilometre away from the venue, protesters shouted slogans against him and sought an unconditional apology.

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