Supporters of controversial self-styled godman Asaram Bapu, who has been accused of sexually assaulting a minor, on Saturday attacked mediapersons outside his ashram in Jodhpur.
Footage on television news channels showed some mediapersons bleeding after the attack, even as Asaram's supporters shouted anti-media slogans. Trouble started after many of Asaram's supporters gathered outside the ashram.
According to reports, there was no police outside the ashram. As there was no police presence, it was nearby villagers who came to the journalists' rescue. Asaram Supporters also pelted stones on an OB van.
"We came here for coverage on information that Asaram's supporter were arriving from different places. As we reached, some of his followers targeted us and snatched our camera and locals came to our rescue," the TV journalist alleged.
He alleged that police officers did not respond to their phone calls. Police said medical examination of both the mediapersons would be conducted and action would be taken against those involved in the attack.
Reacting to the incident, Union Minister Manish Tewari strongly condemned the attack on journalists in Jodhpur. He said the assault on journalists was really disturbing, and requested the Rajasthan government to look into the matter.
The self-styled godman has been evading his arrest since the complaint was filed against him. In his latest move, he has said he cannot surrender for questioning by Jodhpur police, citing his relative's death.
This came even as the Jodhpur police on Friday rejected his plea for extending the deadline for his appearance and headed towards Bhopal to interrogate him.
"We had received a fax from bapu yesterday stating that on account of his ill-health and death of his relative, he was not able to come in stipulated time and sought more time for appearance before the police for investigation.But we have decided not to give him any relief as we have no strong ground to believe, what he said in the fax", Jodhpur DCP Ajay Pal Lamba had said.
Regarding the possibility of Asaram's arrest, Lamba had said that as of now the police had adequate and strong evidence against him enabling it to make an arrest but it will give him a chance to prove him innocent during his interrogation.