Nearly two years after being jailed for allegedly raping a minor from Madhya Pradesh, Asaram Bapu has managed to grab headlines every now and then, but none for good reasons.
He is charged with numerous offences ranging from rape, sexually assaulting minors in the name of exorcism, to plotting the death of three witnesses in cases related to him and his son.
However, these voluminous allegations haven’t deterred his followers from supporting him and raise slogans on social media urging that he be freed, despite the media scrutiny and public shaming that the self-styled godman has gone through.
The latest such attempt appears to be ‘The Flip Side’ a documentary made by independent filmmaker Utpal Kalal in association with cinematographer Kaustabh Manchekar. The film was released on Wednesday.
In a bid to present alternative views of events since allegations against the godman first surfaced, the duo documented 20 days in his ashram in Gujarat. The film which lasts a little over 45 minutes has interviews of various people who believe that Asaram is innocent and has been framed as part of a larger conspiracy.
The highlights of the documentary are excerpts from the media in which lawyers Subramanian Swamy and Ram Jethmalani are heard defending Bapu.
Subramanian Swamy is heard saying that, “There is nothing in the FIR, no mention about the rape. As a record of the trial, the medical report says there is not a single scratch on the girl; hence there is no question of rape.”
He argues, “Since the girl is a minor her words are taken as prima facie evidence according to the POCSO Act and hence, the case is continuing. Her telephone records state that she was elsewhere during the time she alleges she was touched inappropriately and Asaram Bapu was also not there at that time.”
With the release of the documentary, it has sparked reactions from Asaram’s followers.