After Ram Rahim, ‘Babas’ of UP mutt accused of gang-rape

Lucknow: Four ‘babas’ from a well-known ‘ashram’ (mutt) in Uttar Pradesh’s Basti district, about 200 km from here, have been accused of holding girls hostage and gang-raping them for several years.
Police sources here said on Wednesday that four ‘sadhvis’ (women disciples) of Sant Kutir Ashram in Basti had lodged a complaint against four ‘mahants’ (religious heads) of the ashram, charging them with holding them hostage, assaulting and gang-raping them for the past several years.
The victims, two of whom hailed from Chhattisgarh, also alleged that the ‘babas’, who owned several ashrams across the country, had, with the help of some women disciples of the ashram, ”lured” girls in different parts of the country and sexually exploited them.
”The girls, who try to resist, are assaulted and held hostage,” the victims said in their complaint.
The victims said that they managed to escape from the ashram through a window on the second floor and reached the office of the district chief to narrate their plight. They also said that many of the ‘babas’ in the ashram were ”criminals” and faced various charges. ”Some babas have changed their names to escape the law,” the complainants said.
Counter charges
An ashram representative, however, denied the allegations and claimed that the four girls had been expelled from the ashram after they were found to have embezzled money and they were now leveling baseless charges to take revenge.
Police said that a case was registered in this regard and an investigation was launched. The victims had been sent for medical examination, the police said.

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