A local court in India’s western state of Maharashtra Wednesday sentenced three men to death over the rape and murder of a 15-year-old girl, media reports said.
The rape and murder of a 15-year-old Maratha girl last July at Kopardi village in Ahmednagar district had triggered widespread protests from the Maratha community across Maharashtra, Hindustan Times reported.
Jitendra Shinde, Santosh G Bhaval and Nitin Bhailume were sentenced after they were held guilty on multiple counts including rape, murder and criminal conspiracy.
The punishment will be executed only after the higher court upholds it.
Judge Suvarna Keolo heeded to appeals for capital punishment after the prosecution lawyer called it “frozen blooded murder”.
“Today my little daughter got justice in true sense,” said the mother of the victim, who broke down after the sentencing.
According to special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam, convict Shinde was awarded death for rape and murder while Bhaval and Bhailume were given capital punishment for provoking Shinde in addition to being party to the crime.
Heavy security was deployed around the court when the judge pronounced quantum of sentence, given the sensitivities of the communities of the victim and the convicts, and the violence that the caste divide triggered last year.
The July 13, 2016 incident in Kopardi, around 120-kilometers from Pune, angered the Maratha community — to which the girl belonged — hitting the streets in large number. The protest galvanised the Marathas against the Dalits since the three perpetrators belonged to scheduled castes. In several places in Nashik, Dalits were attacked.
The victim was returning home in the evening from her grandfather’s house when the trio grabbed her at an isolated location and attacked her, according to the 350-page chargesheet in the case.
The protest forced government to appoint Ujjwal Nikam as the special public prosecutor and fast-track the case. According to prosecution, there were 24 circumstantial evidences and 31 witnesses produced before the court in all.
“We thank public prosecutor, chief minister and the entire Maratha community for their efforts in bringing the accused to books,” said father of victim after the court verdict.Published: 2017-11-29 17:47:28