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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - NEW DELHI — An Indian court has sentenced a self-styled spiritual guru to life imprisonment for raping one of his devotees.
Asaram Bapu was found guilty of assaulting the woman several times between 2001 and 2006 at his ashram in the western state of Gujarat.
The 81-year-old is currently serving a life sentence after he was convicted of raping a 16-year-old girl in 2018.
His lawyer said he would appeal against the latest court sentence.
Asaram, known for his teachings on yoga and meditation, has millions of followers and hundreds of ashrams around the world.
Authorities in Gujarat had tightened security ahead of Tuesday's order over concerns that there could be violence from the guru's supporters.
A day earlier, the court in Gandhinagar city had convicted Asaram under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, including rape and wrongful detention.
Six others accused in the case, including Asaram's wife and daughter, were acquitted due to insufficient evidence.
On Tuesday, the court imposed a fine of 23,000 rupees ($281; £228) on Asaram and asked him to pay 50,000 rupees as compensation to the victim.
Allegations of sexual abuse first came to light in 2013 when the woman filed a complaint against the guru.
She alleged that Asaram raped her several times at his ashram in Motera city, where she was confined for five years before she could escape.
In 2019, Asaram's son Narayan Sai was also sentenced to life imprisonment for raping the woman's younger sister.
Asaram was arrested in 2013 after a separate case of sexual assault was filed against him by two of his followers, who accused him of raping their daughter.
Police said that he had called the victim to his room in his ashram in Jodhpur city in Rajasthan on the pretext of "curing" her and then raped her.
They added that the guru had forced the victim to perform sexual acts on him and had threatened to murder her family if she spoke about the incident.
Two of the guru's aides were also convicted and given 20-year jail terms in connection with the case. — BBC
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