Threatening or Killing Witnesses is Becoming the NormWhen a self styled Ã¢â¬ËguruÃ¢â¬â¢ like Asharam falls from his pedestal, it not only disillusions a lot of his Ã¢â¬ËdisciplesÃ¢â¬â¢ but it is also financially devastating for a huge number of people who get linked to the scam being run and run mini empires perpetuating the myth Ã¢â¬" either with permission or without. If Asharam goes, so does their business Ã¢â¬" of selling books, videos and arranging salvation through a personal meeting. Make no mistake, this is a multi billion industry in India where Ã¢â¬ËgurusÃ¢â¬â¢ bloom in every alley of every town worth its name.
By Sunil Garodia
The Asharam myth had assumed gigantic proportions in recent times. With lecture tours in all metros, where the Ã¢â¬ËdevoteesÃ¢â¬â¢ fell over each other to hear his every word and contributed to his cause, Asharam managed to create a very high profile and unaccounted wealth running into crores of rupees. There are many people who have a vested interest in ensuring that Asharam comes out clean of all the charges levied against him and resumes helping them in making more money. Minders of his various trusts, independently or in collusion with other likeminded individuals, could be behind the spate of attacks on witnesses in the case against him.
But the idea must have necessarily come from the deaths and attacks happening in the Vyapam case. As in all else, the politico-bureaucratic establishment in India shows the way to ordinary folks on how to manage things when distressed/accused or arraigned. The similarity in the way witnesses are being threatened, attacked and eliminated is too stark to be ignored. Asharam backers are emboldened by the fact that since nothing is being done to the attackers in the Vyapam case; nothing will be done in their case too.
Since justice is dependent on law, facts and evidence, the ends of justice can never be met if witnesses are compromised Ã¢â¬" by whatever means. In a poor country like India, money is the first bait. But when acts of violence are perpetuated against those who cannot be bought, the administration cannot remain a mute witness. If the administration is doing something about it, it is too little and too late. It should gear up to stop the violence and fast track the case to crush the Asharam myth forever.