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Rights activists say punishment to Godamchaur ‘A’ rapists good step, but too little, too late

  • They stress the need for continuous hearing to ensure speedy justice to survivors and families
- TIKA R PRADHAN, Kathmandu

Mar 3, 2019-

On Friday, the Lalitpur District Court sentenced three persons to jail for 10 years each and slapped them with Rs300,000 compensation for perpetrating a gang-rape on a 21-year-old girl in Godamchaur, south of Lalitpur.

The crime was committed 15 months ago.

Rights activists said punishment to rapists was a good step, but called it too little, too late.

Women Rights activist Meera Dhungana, who has been following the gang rape case of victim Godamchaur ‘A’ since the very beginning, said the delayed justice to the victim was a “gross negligence” on the part of the responsible authorities.

“Such a serious and heinous crime must go through continuous hearing process which the existing laws allow, but the authorities fail to take cognizance of this,” she said.

Dhungana, who is the president of Forum for Women Law and Development that advocates for the protection and promotion of the rights of women, children, minorities and the marginalised groups, said it was good to hear that the court’s verdict came despite unnecessary delay but she expressed concern over the quantum of punishment for such a heinous crime.

“Even the compensation of Rs300,000 seems irrational as that does not cover even the cost of her treatment,” Dhungana said. “Who will be responsible for her survival if she could not work for the rest of her life due to their attacks on head and limbs intending to kill her?” she questioned.

The survivor has been undergoing treatment for deep wounds on her head and bruises over her body parts inflicted by the rapists who had abandoned her in a mustard field thinking she had died.

“We have spent around a million rupees in her treatment and she needs to have medicine amounting to Rs3,000 every month for at least one more year,” the survivor’s mother told the Post.

Judge Dhan Singh Mahara on Friday slapped Raghu Silwal, Pawan Kunwar and Bishaldhwoj Karki with a 10-year jail term each for the crime.

According to Chandra Prakash Tiwari, an official at the Lalitpur District Court, the trio were sentenced to a 10-year jail term for rape, another 10-year jail term for murder attempt and 60 days of jail term and Rs3,000 fine for looting her belongings.

However, they are liable to serve a jail term of 10 years only as the longest term would be applicable when a person is convicted of committing multiple crimes.

Though Tiwari claimed that it took a long time to pass the judgment “due to complications in the case”, rights activists disagreed, saying the survivor had identified the perpetrators among the 15 people and named them right after she regained consciousness after six days of the crime.

The case had moved forward after the Patan High Court’s division bench of Prakash Kumar Dhungana and Kishor Silwal repealed the January 10 decision of district court judge Balmukunda Dawadi to release the three accused without bail.

“It took nine months to arrest them after the high court repealed Judge Dawadi’s decision,” Tiwari added.

Dhungana said the government attorney will not file a complaint demanding more punishment to the culprits and there was no provision for other people to file a complaint in such cases.

As per the Muluki Ain (General Code), she said, the culprits should have been slapped with five more years for the gang rape in addition to the punishment for the rape and therefore the court has deducted at least 10 years of jail term of the convicts.

The survivor’s mother said she was eagerly awaiting justice amid continued threats from the kin of one of the convicts, Bishaldhwoj Karki.

“Right part of my daughter’s body does not function,” she said, demanding compensation from the government. She added that she was concerned about safety and security of her three other daughters.

Published: 03-03-2019 09:26

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