People have been reacting all morning to the Jodhpur court verdict convicting godman Asaram Bapu of raping a minor at his ashram in 2013. Four other accused were also convicted. Many welcomed the verdict, saying justice had been done. Others pointed to Asaram’s proximity to leading politicians.
Now Bollywood director and actor Farhan Akhtar has criticised people for sharing many photos of Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Asaram Bapu. “So, Asaram is a child rapist. And he has been found guilty. Good. But can people please stop sharing images of him with PM Modi. Patronising him before he was exposed to be a pervert is no crime. Let’s be fair and give him the benefit of doubt that he, like us, did not know,” tweeted Farhan Akhtar on Wednesday.
However, other Twitter users were quick to disagree with Farhan. Journalist Hartosh Singh Bal said “Much about Asaram was known if people were willing to listen. It is patronage such as this which kept the truth suppressed for much longer than it should have been.” Bal added that “Bollywood and politicians were patronising Ram Rahim well after everything was out.”
Commentator Sanjukta Basu said “Patronising self-styled godmen for votes is a problem. All political parties do it. BJP does it more because of the whole Hindutva obsession and consolidation of Hindu votes. That these godmen are all corrupt and amassing wealth by illegal means is not a secret.”
A Twitter user 'proudkannadiga’ said “The timing of your tweet is unfortunately horrendous. Would you have said the same if he was acquitted? For all we know, the argument then would have been that Modi always knew that he was not guilty, it was all Sonia Gandhi conspiracy”.