Jain Monk Acharya Shantisagar: Another Godman Arrested for Rape
Jain monk Digambar Acharya Shantisagar, a self-styled 45-year-old godman, was arrested from Surat, Gujarat on Saturday for allegedly raping a 19-year-old girl.
According to her complaint, he raped her on 1 October when he called her to perform some puja and give his blessings. She had gone to Digambar Jain temple in Napura with her family when the incident happened. A case has been registered in this regard in Athva Police Station.
A medical examination of the girl has confirmed that she had been raped, and the police has begin investigating the matter. She is a student, native to Madhya Pradesh, and is currently based in Vadodara. Her entire family had accepted Acharya Shantisagar as their guru recently in March 2017.
On the day of the incident, the guru had allegedly convinced the visiting family to stay back a little longer, and took the girl to another room on the pretext that he needed some help for the rituals where he raped her, according to the police. Out of fear, the girl only opened up about the rape to her parents after 11 days and filed an FIR on Saturday.
Following the news of the FIR, the Acharya took a “vow of silence”. He was taken in for questioning later that evening and was arrested on Saturday night. Thousands of his followers gathered at the police station, who claimed the allegation was false and that the guru was being deliberately maligned.
Maharaj's arrest comes after several self-styled godmen were arrested in the past few months for sexual assault, especially Dera Sacha Sauda Chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, who was convicted of raping one of his disciples. In the last week of September itself, two babas, Siya Ram Das of Udaseen Akhara from UP and ‘Falahari Baba’ from Rajasthan were arrested on the charges of rape.
(With inputs from ANI)