On July 20, 38-year-old Bajrang Muni Udasin was stretched out on a cot draped in a soft saffron rug. The head priest of the Shri Lakshmandas Udasin Ashram in Uttar Pradesh’s Khairabad was unable to walk because of an ache in his leg, caused by a nervous condition. He was surrounded by several policemen, who had solicitously come to the ashram’s audience hall to ask if “all was well with him”.
Wearily, Udasin described his daily routine. He wakes up at 11 am and, after his morning meal, presents himself at the audience hall, where a number of followers gather daily with their grievances, many of which are complaints against local Muslims. Udasin claimed to be tireless in his efforts to sort out such problems – “even if I get a call, I reach the spot immediately”.
That day, however, Udasin had worries of his own.
Not so long ago, he was booked for hate speech after he threatened to rape Muslim women. “If you [Muslims] harass one Hindu woman then I will openly abduct your sisters and daughters and rape them,” he had said.
The comments were made at a religious rally in Khairabad in Sitapur district on April 2. The case was registered on April…