Vrindavan, 2017.12.27 (VT) A self-professed acharya who brought girls to his ashram on the pretext of teaching them the Bhagavatam has been arrested for sexual assault. It is alleged that he blackmailed the girls into keeping quiet by taking videos of them while bathing.
Two girls from Maharashtra are alleging that Vasudev Shastri, who moves between Vrindavan and Ahmednagar, abused them over a period of 3 months, while they were staying in his ashram.
The girls alerted neighbors, who contacted their relatives. On Wednesday, police arrested Shastri after he took a beating from neighborhood women. It is reported that, while he was taking the beating, Shastri admitted his wrongdoings, however, he later told media and police that he stopped the girls from associating with male youths, and this prompted the girls to make the abuse accusations
Unfortunately, from time to time it happens that persons claiming to be Bhagavat Acharyas take advantage of their followers.
The case is reminiscent of another widely publicized scandal (in 2011). Although the circumstances were somewhat different, social media was filled with commentators showing their disgust for those who profess religion but behave in abusive ways. Some lamented that such cases make people lose faith. As one person commented, “In this day and age, we cannot take the risk of trusting preachers, especially where our children are involved.”