Uttar Pradesh : A Moradabad Fast Track Court has awarded 20 years imprisonment to four gang rape accused and slapped Rs 25,000 fine on each of them.
However, the victim’s counsel Reshma Begum said that she will move the High Court for the death penalty as the sentence awarded to gang rape accused was less in comparison to the crime they committed and life-long social injuries they inflicted on the victim.
A resident of Lalpur village in Dilaari area in Moradabad district, Sunita (name changed) had lodged a case of gang rape and blackmail by making and circulating an MMS against 8 accused in 2013, three years after her gang rape. She was gang-raped in 2010 when she was returning home after withdrawing money from the bank.
She was gagged by Gajendra and Devesh and dragged to a sugarcane field where their friends Shashikant, Mohit, Vishal, Kuldeep and Bunty were awaiting. They raped her by turn and made a video clip of her gang rape on their mobile. After committing the crime they fled leaving Sunita bleeding and unconscious in the field.
She gained consciousness after an hour and, somehow, managed to reach home but did not share the incident with her parents due to fear of losing family dignity. After few months, her parents got her married in Thakurdawara area. Sunita started life afresh with her husband.
They both had a child and were living a happy married life together. One day when she was going to the market to buy medicines and grocery, her tormentors Shashikant and Devesh stopped her and showed the video clip of her gang rape. They threatened to send the MMS to her husband and viral it on the internet if she denied sexual favours.
On Sunita’s refusal, they sent the video clip to her husband and put it on the net. When her husband Ramesh (Name changed) questioned her about the MMS, Sunita narrated the gang-rape incident three years ago. Ramesh supported Sunita and went to Dilaari Police Station to lodge an FIR against eight accused.
She named five accused in the FIR and made the MMS part of the case. The police registered a case and arrested all the eight accused. The trial in the case began at the Fast Track Court in Moradabad in 2014. During the trial, the video clip was sent for the forensic examination. The report found the video clip unaltered and helped the court establish the identity of her rapists.
After nearly four years of her legal battle, the Fast Track Court Judge S.P. Dwivedi pronounced verdict in the gang-rape case on Friday awarding 20 years imprisonment and fine of Rs 25,000 on Gajendra, Devesh, Shashikant, and Kuldeep. The court, however, let off Vineet, Mohit, Vishal and Bunty, who were accused of abatement in crime, due to inadequate evidence.
Tears rolled down Sunita’s eyes after the court verdict. “I appeal all survivors to fight for justice even if they have to face odds. The support will come from unexpected corners,” reacted she while thanking the judiciary, her husband, family members and relatives who supported her during her fight for justice.
Her counsel Reshma Begum said that she would appeal in the High Court to press for the death penalty to accused who not only outraged her modesty but inflicted permanent social stigma on the victim. “Such rapists have no right to live in the civilized society,” said she.