Asaram Bapu sentence: Reactions hailing the verdict pour in

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Almost five years after rape charges were levelled against self-styled godman, Asaram Bapu, the Jodhpur Schedule Caste and Schedule Tribe Court pronounced its verdict today.

Asaram, who is now lodged in the Jodhpur Central jail, was facing trial in two sexual assault cases: one in Rajasthan and the other in Gujarat.

An Indian spiritual guru with millions of followers has been jailed for life for raping a 16-year-old girl.

The girl, who was taking spiritual lessons at one of his ashrams, was taken to Asaram, on the pretext that she was possessed by evil spirits and needed to be exorcised.

While Asaram is expected to appeal Wednesday's verdict, the BBC reports Jodhpur "is on high alert because of concerns there could be violence from the guru's supporters"-and not without reason".

The victim in the case for which Sirumalani was jailed, as well as her family, had been followers of the guru for almost a decade.

Defense lawyer Sushma Dhara said she would challenge the verdict. Asaram will spend the rest of his life in jail unless a higher court acquits him in the case.

The girl's family said they had been followers of Bapu for more than a decade.

Asaram's sentencing is also a warning to those who use their powerful positions to harass and intimidate others.

Recalling one of his most strenuous tasks, the police official says he was confronted by a 8,000-strong mob in Indore where he had went to summon Asaram on August 29, 2013. Now I hope he will get strict punishment.

In another case, police in Rajasthan filed a charge sheet against the godman for allegedly filming sexual assaults on women to blackmail them. He further adds that he has been advocating the convergence of two "powers" but now he as found his "Shiva", referring to then Gujarat CM Narendra Modi.

Apprehending threat to law and order from the followers of Asaram, high security was in place in Jodhpur, with prohibitory orders enforced in the city.

Asaram, along with his son, Narayan Sai, are also accused of repeated rape and illegal confinement of two Surat-based sisters, who stayed at Asaram's ashram (religious retreat) in Gujarat between 1997 and 2006. He has been in judicial custody since September 2, 2013.

The reaction to the recent cases, which has seen thousands of people take to the streets in protest, has been compared to the nationwide outcry over the 2012 gang rape of 23-year-old physiotherapy student Jyoti Singh, who later died from injuries sustained in the attack.

Vanzara was made an accused by the CBI in the alleged fake encounter cases of Soharabuddin Sheikh, Tulsi Prajapati and Ishrat Jahan.