In an apparent dig at Prime Minister Modi, several social media users are sharing a collage of two images, one that shows him on stage with self-proclaimed godman Asaram Bapu and the other, purportedly showing Asaram groping a woman who is seated on his lap.
Among the many users who posted the picture is the handle @SpiritOfCongres, with the caption reading “Modi likes molesters…” The tweet has so far garnered over 600 retweets and nearly 3,000 likes.
The Archive of the post can be seen here
Fact Check/ Verification
On conducting a reverse image search on the viral collage, we traced back the image purportedly showing Asaram Bapu groping a woman to this article on a Russian website. According to the article, which was published on December 12, 2000, the man seen in the image is “Swami Virato”, a former American businessman who became a sex guru.
According to the article, “Swami Virato’s real name was Joseph Bacanskas and he was the editor of the online Asheville Magazine in North Carolina US in the mid-’90s. It was since his meeting with Osho he devoted much effort to increase spiritual awareness and tantric consciousness.”
NewsChecker then investigated the other image in the collage, which shows PM Modi sharing the stage with Asaram Bapu, who is now a convicted rapist and jailed for the act.
We found a video of the event on ABP news, where Narendra Modi, the then CM of Gujarat, can be seen attending an event of Asaram Bapu in 2005.
The self-styled godman was sentenced life-long jail term in 2018 after being convicted in a rape case.
The image of an old man seen groping a woman seated on his lap shows “Swami Virato” and not Asaram Bapu, while the image of Narendra Modi with Asaram Bapur dates back to 2005.
Result: Partly False
Write up published by People.ru, dated December 12, 2000
Article published by OSHO News, dated February 4, 2013
Video report by ABP news, dated November 2, 2015
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