Indian spiritual guru arrested for allegedly raping woman

Indian security personnel looks at burning vehicles set alight by rioting followers of a religious leader convicted of rape in Panchkula. (Money Sharma, AFP, file)
Indian security personnel looks at burning vehicles set alight by rioting followers of a religious leader convicted of rape in Panchkula. (Money Sharma, AFP, file)

New Delhi - Police have arrested a popular Indian spiritual guru, the second in the past month, for allegedly raping a 21-year-old woman in western India.

Police officer Jaisingh Nathawat said the woman, whose parents have been followers of 70-year-old Kaushlendra Prapannacharya Falahari Maharaja, complained that the guru assaulted her on August 7 at his headquarters in Alwar, a town in Rajashtan state.

She said the spiritual guru warned her against telling anyone about the assault, but she decided to break her silence after another self-proclaimed guru, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, was tried and sentenced to 20 years in prison in August for raping two followers in northern Haryana state.

Falahari Maharaja faces 10 years in prison if convicted.

Religious sects have huge followings in India and also wield considerable political clout.

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