The CPI (M) welcomes the judgment holding Asaram and two others guilty of rape of a minor in August 2013. It is a case of a so-called godman exploiting the faith and belief of his followers to sexually exploit a minor and deserves the strongest punishment.

This is a victory for justice in a case which saw the use of violence and intimidation against the victim and her family. Nine witnesses were attacked of which three died. The teenaged survivor showed exemplary courage in these extremely difficult and trying circumstances and is a symbol of the fight against sexual exploitation.

The courts should ensure that the other related cases including those of the killing of the witnesses should be completed without delay.